As a “Gleaner” (former name for the COGOP’s children ministry), I was taught songs like “This Little Light on Mine” and “The B-I-B-L-E,” and learned memory verses like John 3:16.
Along with stories of Noah and the Ark and David and Goliath, we were also taught “The Ten Commandments.”
While the display of this part of God’s law in governmental buildings and schools is hotly debated throughout our society these days, I want to focus on one of the most overlooked of these important guides to live by.
While some people look at Exodus 20 and see a bunch of “don’ts” (actually eight of the 10 instruct “not” to do certain things), setting right smack dab in the middle of the holy list is a big “do.”
Commandment No. 5 in verse 12 of that chapter says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (KJV).”
While I’ve had occasional difficulties staying obedient to some of the other nine, this one hasn’t been a problem.
You see I was blessed with the best parents in the world – Gene and Juanita Cannon.
Were or are they perfect? No.
Have they always said and done the right things? No.
But what they have done throughout my life, as well as my brothers and sister’s (I’m their baby) before me, is place their love for Christ first and foremost in everything they do.
Their love for each other, as well as their love for their children (blood and otherwise) comes as a direct result of their relationship with the One who is Love.
While over the years I have written about my parents and some of our family’s crazy escapades, what I want to share today is what an amazing man of God my father is.
While dad has been called many things over the years, including his current declaration of “sweet and precious” when asked how he is, recent revelations have brought one of his catch phrases out to me more than the others.
Being a man who dislikes arguing and confrontation, dad has always said he “was a lover, not a fighter.”
I can honestly say today, more than ever, that statement is 100 percent, completely true.
Although difficult to accept, it has become apparent over the last few years that Father Time was taking his toll on my parents.
This past winter I discussed with my brothers (both of whom live out of town) what I and my sister had been observing.
Although still capable of taking care of themselves to a point, there were some things our parents needed assistance with.
My 87-year-old dad’s eyesight has been bad for several years and my 90-year-old mom’s hearing and memory continue to digress.
Back in March, I started staying at their house on weekends and have been there daily since my 6 a.m. school bus duties ceased for the summer.
What I’ve witnessed since being with them more has taken the love and respect for my dad to a whole new level.
The loving care he shows for his bride of more than 67 years leaves me awestruck.
He patiently provides for her well being throughout each day, making sure she has what she desires and needs.
With mom’s legs not allowing her to do as much as she used to do, dad has taken on the vast majority of the housekeeping duties (it takes a blind man a long time to vacuum a whole house).
While there are trying times when the facts of their aging wears on him, he turns to the Lord for strength and patience.
Dad has always been a praying man, presenting his family to the Lord many times throughout the day and night.
Learning from his father (Roscoe) before him, dad has always sacrificed for his family and the work of the Lord — supporting us on meager printer’s wages and spending thousands of hours in volunteer work for the church and Bradley County community.
He is not bashful to show his love for God and his family to anyone he comes in contact with.
He is thankful for the Lord’s blessings and shares his testimony every chance he gets.
Dad is looking forward to heaven and even tells me it would be nice if all three (me, him and mom) of us could go at the same time.
I remind him that while I too hope to be there someday, unless the rapture happens, I’m not looking to catch the next bus.
I am, however, very thankful the Lord has given me such a tremendous example of how to get there.
On this Father’s Day, I am prouder than ever to declare I am Gene Cannon’s son.
I hope someday to be half the man of God he is.
I love you dad.
You’re the greatest man I’ve ever known.
Thanks for showing me the way.