My father almost always wore a tie. He grew up in an era where a tie was a necessary part of a man’s daily costume. As a salesman, Dad wanted to appear proper and professional to his customers.
But he also wore a tie to most social events. Even to a neighbor’s house for an evening get together or to a family occasion. About the only time I remember Dad not wearing a tie was on Sunday. Sunday was the only day Dad did not go to work. Sunday was the only day he had to relax. Since we were not a church-going family, he had no reason to wear a tie on Sunday.
I remember when I was about ten or eleven, Dad taught me how to tie a Windsor knot. Loop around, through, down. I still can only tie a tie the way he taught me. Dad was convinced that clip on ties were from the Devil, so he never had any such contraptions in his wardrobe. Odd. Neither do I.
Later, I came to faith in Jesus Christ. I began to share my new faith with my family. Dad was not critical or cruel toward me, but he made it clear my faith was not for him. Eventually I left home and committed my life to serving Jesus.
Then Dad got old. And sick. Very sick. He didn’t wear a tie then. And I became more and more concerned about Dad. He had resisted the invitation of Jesus all his life, for more than seventy years. This in spite of hearing the gospel on many occasions, often proclaimed by his own son, me. It was apparent to me that Dad’s opportunities for salvation in Christ were numbered.
Dad was taken to the hospital a few weeks before his 74th birthday. Emphysema, a gift from his life-long smoking habit, was the diagnosis. I was living two states away from Dad at the time and arranged to make the trip to see Dad.
Before I made the trip, a pastor friend of mine heard about my dad’s condition. He had met Dad on a number of occasions, as his church was located less than ten miles from my parents’ home. Pastor Tom had an evangelist at his church this particular week, and he asked the evangelist to accompany him to the hospital to visit Dad.
Evangelists are known for their boldness, and this preacher was no exception. “Sir,” he said in a loud and authoritative voice as he entered Dad’s room. “You are going to Hell unless you accept Jesus as your Savior.” Later that day, Pastor called me to report that my dad had come to faith in Jesus. Praise God.
It was just a day or two later that I arrived at the hospital to see Dad. He was very frail. I questioned him about the evangelist’s visit, and his responses, though weak and difficult to hear, did indicate to me that Dad was trusting Jesus. When our visit was ended, I left to drive back home, knowing this was no doubt the last time I would see Dad alive on this earth.
A week later, my brother-in-law called. “We lost Dad,” he said. At the funeral, there was Dad, looking fit and proper in his suit and neatly Windsor-knotted tie. How glad I was. Glad at a funeral? The funeral of my father?
Yes. I was glad. As I looked at my dad in death wearing his trademark tie, I was reminded that now, through faith in Jesus Christ, he had formed an eternal tie with my Heavenly Father, and that I would see him again. Soon.
I am fairly certain that people do not wear ties in Heaven. The Bible talks about “white robes”, but it does not mention ties. But if Dad could wear a tie in Heaven, I am fairly certain he would. But I am thankful for the tie that in Christ now eternally binds my father to my Father.
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