Most Prized Possession: My Father’s Library

Boy reading in the library


After years of chasing one dream after another, things finally clicked into place and God’s plan for my life became exquisitely clear. He was calling me to preach. Sure, I could become a teacher, a private music instructor, a professor, a writer, or a worship leader, and could probably find success. But that wasn’t the point. He wanted me to preach – end of story.

It was a terrifying realization, but also a blessed relief. And I’ll never forget the way my heart flipped when my wife took my hand and said, “I think you need to call your parents and tell them about this.”

As the oldest child, I wanted them to be proud of me. I knew they were thrilled to death about my doctoral program and teaching goals, so how was I going to tell them that I was leaving the Ph.D. program and going to seminary instead? But that telephone conversation ended up being a wonderful memory. Both of my parents ended up crying, and through broken voices they said, “We’re proud of you, Son.”

And then my Dad said something that sent my jaw smacking against the floor. “I want you to have my books,” he said resolutely. I tried to argue, but his mind was made up.

The moment was surreal. I had grown up watching my Dad collect his preaching library, one costly volume at a time. When it was time to prepare his sermons, he would pore over those books. When a difficult question came up, he would pull a helpful book off the shelf. I had memories of attending men’s prayer meetings in the Pastor’s Library, where the shelves were lined with those precious commentaries.

And now they’re sitting in my house. This preaching library, which has meant so much to me through the years, is now mine. Every time I grab a book from this collection to write a seminary paper, prepare a Sunday School lesson, or write a sermon, I can’t help but smile. Each book is a tangible reminder that my father felt led to pass the torch of ministry on to the next generation, and what a great responsibility that is for me. Each book reminds me that I’m on the right track, and that no matter how successful I end up in eyes of the world, my Dad is proud of me.



Writing 101 Day 20 Challenge:  Tell us the story of your most prized possession.

Farewell, Writing 101 Friends!  It’s been a joy getting to know you as we shared our writing assignments each day, and it’s been quite a ride!  Best of luck to each of you on your writing journeys…


13 thoughts on “Most Prized Possession: My Father’s Library

  1. Great John. What a treasure. I have a treasure I plan to leave to my son Levi even though he’s never been called to preach. He does teach the Word. I loved this. Thanks for sharing!!!!


  2. The library of preaching books is a wonderful legacy … tangible and yet more than just objects. Praying for you as you continue to answer the calling God placed on your life. (Remind me sometime to write about how my brother received the calling to preach. Makes me laugh every single time I share!)


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