My Routinely Stable Daddy!

My dad, Mr. John Cyrus Nicholls, just retired from 27 years of being an elder at Titirangi Baptist Church (formerly Kaurilands Church of Christ L&A). He did not retire due to animosity or hostility, but due to some ongoing health issues and felt he could not fulfill his duty to the best of his ability. Last Sunday (June 12th), TBC held a service recognizing dad's faithfulness and dedication all these years. I could not obviously be there, as he lives in New Zealand and I reside in Chicago. This is what I wrote and it was read aloud on Sunday: it was my attempt to convey and recognize a man who poured his heart, soul and mind into the Church he dearly loves! 

Sunday is Fathers Day in the US. Fathers Day in NZ is in September. Yet, I feel it is fitting to post this in recognition of my father, who despite living in a society where so many people constantly give in, give up and change their direction when they see or glimpse at a slight obstacle; well, our father has defied that mentality by faithfully trucking on.....

To be honest, I don’t remember what year it was and I don’t remember all the details…..

Mum and dad had gone on their first big overseas adventure; they’d gone to Fiji for a couple weeks! Jamie, Jenny and I stayed with different friends. I think I was about 11 or 12. When it was time to come home, we all went to the airport to pick them up. I was very excited; you see, I knew that while they were away, the Church had voted about dad becoming an elder.

I impatiently waited for them to come through the gate; I wanted to be the first one to tell him. Finally they wandered through, I ran up to dad and told him, “dad, you didn’t make it, you’re not an elder!”

If looks could kill, I’d be dead right now because I got his infamous stare, what us 3 kids called his “evil eyes.” Mum, and especially dad, looked devastated. I had just deflated the joy of us 5 Js reuniting. They questioned why I’d come up to say such a thing and told me I wasn’t the one who was supposed to tell him.

I can’t remember all the details, but I remember being completely confused. For some reason, I thought dad didn’t want to be an elder. That is why, in all my excitement, I revealed the news; I thought I was bringing good news, not heart-breaking news! I felt terrible.

Sorry about that dad! I was doing it out of love! I really was!

I don’t know why I thought what I thought that day. Maybe it was that stability he possesses, where we never knew if he was excited or depressed, passionate or angered by something; we always got that classic dad response of, “I’m alright, I’m good”, no matter what had happened that day! Except when he was watching rugby of course!

But this isn’t about me; this is about my dad, a man I dearly love, admire and respect. That day, I realized how important eldership and being in the leadership of our Church meant to dad. There was this “sadness” in his eyes. I could tell he took it personally, even though he tried to remain stable and composed. I knew, that day, becoming an elder was so very vitally important to him.

Well, it wasn’t long after that; he was voted in! 27 years ago, dad took on the duty and became an elder.

When dad took on this job, he didn’t step into it half-heartedly. He knew all the responsibilities, it was a "God given calling" to him and he dived into it with full force. I’m not just talking about all the frequent meetings until 1am. I’m talking about how it occupied his mind, his passion and his love for the church. When dad embraced eldership, I witnessed a man (even as a teenager), who was driven to do what was best for (the then) Kaurilands Church of Christ and for the Lord. He knew his responsibility and he always wanted to see (the now) Titirangi Baptist Church, and the people he dearly loves, grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There’s a lot I could say, but I’d like to summarize with five words that I think speak of who my dad is. These are things I witnessed everyday, because my dad has been and remains a creature of remarkable habit and routines. Rock Solid! This makes dad easier to observe; I see him as an excellent example of reliability, faithfulness, honesty, perseverance and stability.

Dad has always had the Church’s best interest at heart. He knows what he believes in accordance with scripture. He won’t budge if he thinks something is scripturally, ethically or morally incorrect – believe me, I know, dad and I have had our fair share of very heated debates. I may have joked earlier about his flat-line of emotions, but this is a testament of the 5 words I just mentioned. There was no up and down, up and down, “oh no, who’s John going to be today?” Dad was and is always dad; faithfully and reliably serving and leading the Church with all honesty and perseverance. Dad has been a stable fixture in TBC for many years; many more years beyond his 27 as elder! This is the dad I witnessed all these years!

Dad, I want to thank you for the example you’ve been to me. TBC has been honored to have had you as an elder all these years. I love you and wish we could have been there today (June 12, 2011) to celebrate all your wonderful years of service.

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