Opinion: Incredibly thankful to both my father and my Father


Last updated 6/16/2020 at 3:13pm

In the midst of this roller coaster year and its blur of events and emotions, we’re speeding toward Father’s Day. As I find myself thinking of my father, my thoughts quickly turn in immense gratitude to my Father for giving me such an incredible gift, my earthly father.

If anyone asked me for the name of the best man I have ever known, I’d not have to pause a nanosecond before replying, “G.B. Shelburne Jr.” My dad.

I’ve said that many times, not because I feel haughty about it. That would be ridiculous. I say it in what I hope is deepest humility because the gift utterly amazes me, and I recognize that it’s worth far more than gold. What did I do to merit the gift of such a father? Nothing at all, of course. It was pure grace. Total blessing. Absolutely undeserved and “undeservable.” And worth more than all the gold in the world.

I don’t come even close to always living up to what Dad taught me. But what he taught me and showed me, what I watched him live out in his day-to-day life, is always in my mind and never far from me. It’s very practical. Examples abound, and maybe never more than right now.

In the midst of the present health pandemic, the social and political pandemonium, and the economic and pervasive uncertainty, I ask myself, “What would Dad do? How would he respond?” And I realize that as I ask this question, I might as well just ask, “What would Jesus do?” That’s the kind of man he was.

Would Dad tremble in fear before the virus? Of course not. He would behave wisely, and in attitude and action point people toward the Source of real hope and health for the present and “the hereafter.”

In the face of racial conflict, social unrest and mistrust, Dad would love and respect God’s people of any color. He would do what he did — willingly preach for any church except a church that would exclude other races. He would teach God’s Word to anyone willing to listen, and he would particularly love teaching in Spanish.

Dad would sympathize with and love folks who told him about their fear for their children because of their race. He would also model respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who do a thankless job well. Dad would never be able to understand why anyone would “take a knee” during our national anthem, but it would warm his heart to see citizens and police officers kneeling together.

Dad was much too wise, much too gentle, and much too strong to be anything but appalled that anyone would even consider participating in or making excuses for looting or burning. For that matter, Dad would never agree that getting what you want politically, even if the “end” is good, justifies using low or coarse behavior against your adversaries as a means to reach that end.

In short, as we come to this Father’s Day on this difficult year, from the bottom of my heart, I thank my Father for my father and for the incredible blessing that knowing him has made it so much easier for me to know God.

Curtis Shelburne writes about faith for The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at

[email protected]


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