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10 September 2022
The greatest gift of all is available to everyone
Words Dean Simpson
I have a favourite tie. Most men my age do. It’s not a conventional tie, and I can guarantee no one else has one like it.
Recently, I turned up at a function in one of my conventional ties, and three other men were sporting the same design. I should have worn my favourite one!
To be honest, my favourite tie is not my preferred colour or style and doesn’t seem to match any of my clothes, but I will never throw it out.
It is, of course, a Father’s Day tie. A tie I received on Father’s Day in 2011 from my then six-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. It is made from cardboard, decorated with a spaghetti-like array of Texta colours, and has a ‘Love one another’ sticker in the centre. Handily, it includes an elastic string for easy application.
Dean sporting his favourite tie!
Ironically, my son asked his big sister to write the heading at the top, but she inadvertently threw in an extra ‘r’ – ‘Farthers Day 2011’. There is also a heartfelt message written on the back, full of praise for my virtues as a father, ranging from my tendency to say ‘yes’ while their mum says ‘no’, my superhero strength when throwing them into the pool, and my ability to break wind on cue. The message is handwritten with similar spelling mistakes and scribbled corrections.
Despite this, the tie is one of my most treasured possessions – no doubt because it was made with all the love, care and devotion that my young children could muster.
I remember putting it on and making a big show of it when they excitedly presented it to me. In fact, I wore it to church that day and continued to wear it each Father’s Day for the next several years. My children were thrilled each time.
By about 2018, the tie was showing signs of wear and tear (and my children were growing up), so I stuck it in the bottom drawer of my bedside table because I couldn’t bear to throw it away. But, still to this day, once a year on Father’s Day, people in my church congregation will ask me why I’m not sporting my one-of-a-kind tie!
I might be encouraged to wear it one more time this Father’s Day – if only to embarrass my 20-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son!
Receiving that tie from my children all those years ago gave me a glimpse of how God feels when we acknowledge him with our attention, our devotion and, above all, the gift of our lives.
God doesn’t care if our lives are as ‘flimsy as cardboard’, ‘full of scribbles’ and ‘spelt incorrectly’ – he doesn’t care if our lives are a bit rough around the edges, a bit tattered and torn. He simply wants our hearts and promises to accept us with his unconditional love.
Jesus said: “... unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Father God sent his son Jesus to earth to be the sacrifice for all our sins. It was the greatest gift to humankind. All God wants in response is the gift of your heart, and he will reward you with the gift of abundant life, here and into eternity.