And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. (1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV)
In studying 1 Chronicles 28 and David's passing the leadership baton to his son Solomon, I remembered a poem that means a lot to me. I edited the original slightly and printed it out to give to my sons at Christmas in 1997. Unlike David I do not have a lot of material wealth to pass on to my children, but I do have a spiritual heritage.
The original author was Merrill C. Tenney (1904-1985), a Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Graduate School at Wheaton College. He wrote this for his two sons.
A Father’s Gift
To you, O son of mine, I cannot give
A vast estate of wide and fertile lands;
But I can keep for you, long as I live,
I have no coat of arms that insures
Your path to eminence and worldly fame;
But longer than empty heraldry endures
A blameless name.
I have no treasure chest of gold refined
No horded cache of glittering wealth;
I give to you my hand, and heart, and mind –
All of myself.
I can exert no mighty influence
To make a place for you in men’s affairs;
But lift to God in secret audience
I cannot, though I would, be always near
To guard your steps with the parental rod;
I trust your soul to Him who holds you dear,
Your father’s God.