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Passing The Baton
Whether my father realized it or not, he imparted many positive and biblical characteristics into my life. Now that I have children of my own, it’s my turn to do the same for them.

AUGUST 2012


My father was a hard-working, decent, and honorable man. He was a man of strong faith and he loved his family as well as the business he built from the ground up through many years of intense physical labor, sweat, and more than his fair share of tears.

My father’s tireless efforts to build his trucking and excavating business in order to provide for his family was perhaps surpassed only by his love of life itself and the desire to enjoy it to the fullest.

However, Dad’s love of life was cut short in 2005 after discovering an aggressive form of undifferentiated cancer in his throat. From the time of his diagnosis, it took only six weeks for the cancer to take his life. He was 74.

My dad took really good care of himself throughout his life. Sure, he could be accused of pouring too much gravy over his mashed potatoes, or using too much butter and salt on his corn on the cob, but who isn’t guilty of that?

He also danced a lot.

He loved old time music and therefore took advantage of every opportunity to go dancing with my mother at various polka music festivals that were held all over Minnesota and adjoining states. At one point, he and my mom were elected the “Prince” and “Princess” of the nationwide Polka Lovers Club of America (PO.L.K.ofA.). I guess you could say they were royalty after all—at least for a year!

When my Dad wasn’t working or dancing, he was volunteering somewhere…giving back to others and trying to make a difference in our small town. Dad probably never thought much about the impact he made on me and my siblings. And if he did, I’m sure he underestimated the profound affect his words, actions, and deeds had on those in his family, his community, and on others who knew him.

But he did impact me…in ways that continue to direct and define my life today…and I am grateful for that. He would always say, “Jeff, do a good job and the customer will call you back.” He constantly reminded us kids to eat everything on our plate, shut off the lights when leaving a room, put things back where they belong, and always say our prayers before going to bed.

And despite the many burdens of running a business, my father always seemed happy and content. He refused to let rough times break his spirit or get him down. Dad managed life’s challenges and hardships with faith, strength, and perseverance. Even after learning he had throat cancer, he just kept doing what he had always done—including marching in the Color Guard during our town’s Independence Day parade…just six days before he marched to heaven on July 10, 2005.

Traits Of Our Father
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 that a parent should “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Ephesians 6:4 states that fathers should raise their children in the “training and admonition of the Lord.”

Whether my dad, DeMarel “Sonny” Litfin, realized it or not, he did these things.

Now, as a 47-year-old father of three, I find myself emulating my father. Phrases which made me roll my eyes as a teenager, are now directed toward my own kids as I strive to instill in them the same sense of responsibility, wisdom, service, and faith that Dad schooled into us. I must admit though, I'm still working on getting them to appreciate old time "oompah-pah" music as much as I do....

The Bible has much to say about the importance of family and how children need to honor their parents. I can think of no better way to honor my father than to teach my children the same values and virtues that he taught me.

However, I was fortunate. I had someone in my life to follow and look up to, but that is not always the case. Many other individuals while growing up either did not have a Dad around…or perhaps the one they did have was distant, detached, or abusive in some way.

Even though our earthly fathers are not perfect…at least we have a heavenly Father Who is! And whether we realize it or not, God has been there every day of our lives…teaching, training, imparting, caring…and loving us more than we know.

As I raise and train my own kids, what I am really doing is emulating the things that our heavenly Father has imparted to me through my parents, through others, and especially through His Word. If you had an earthly father who was a blessing to your life in this way, thank God for that. But even if you didn’t, you can still influence and be an example of God to others because He is our everlasting teacher and Father.

By always looking to God, I hope you are able to experience and receive a true father’s love through the love of God. After all, the Bible tells us that God will relieve the orphans and widows (Psalm 146:9), and that God Himself will be a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Because of that love, each one of us has something to impart and pass down.

What About You?
What lessons have you learned from your parents? How has your father or mother impacted your life? Do you find yourself implementing the same or similar characteristics from one or both of your parents? When is the last time you told them how much you love and appreciate their influence in your life? If it’s been a while, I encourage you to do that today!

Likewise, how has your heavenly Father changed your life? Have you passed these traits down to your own children?

As parents, mentors, and teachers, it is our civil, social, and biblical duty to train up the next generation in the way they should go…just like our parents did for us. Because now more than ever, our society—and our world—needs young people who possess character, conviction, and a solid moral compass.

My parents and others from their generation seemed to exemplify these traits rather well. As the salt of the earth, they didn’t apologize for teaching and training their kids to serve their country, love and respect others, enjoy the gift of life, and follow after God’s own heart.

May the same be said of my/our generation as well.

Thank You
Our purpose in sending out these monthly Partner Letter emails is to bless and minister to you and your family in a personal, practical way. We realize that not everyone can visit our free, faith-based website (www.cfaith.com) every day, so this monthly email is simply another opportunity to extend cfaith's ministry efforts to you and others around the world.

We also want you to know how much we appreciate your support and participation in the vision and ministry of cfaith. Each day, our website ministers to thousands of individuals in more than 160 countries.

Without you, none of this would be possible. So thank you for supporting our worldwide missionary efforts. Together, we will continue to touch hearts and influence others for Christ by imparting the love of God.

Passing the baton of His love to others,

Jeff Litfin
ministry operations leader
cfaith




Author Biography

Jeff Litfin
Web site: CFAITH.com
 
Jeff Litfin is an actor, spokesperson, writer, and life-long content and communications student who strives to put his optimism to work every day.
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