Sermon, Dad's Celebration of Life
Robert Michael “Mike” Chitwood, 68 passed away the morning of September 13, 2018 after a long illness. Mike was under the excellent care of Hospice Compassus, and his loving family. He died with his wife, and three children by his bedside. Mike is survived by his wife Carol Joplin. his mother, Irene Strain husband Lee Joplin, Son Darren wife Nita Joplin, daughters Kelly Thomas Lee’s Summit, and Chandra Sellers husband Scott Joplin, Sister Michelle Chitwood Joplin, 12 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren with 2 more due in December, He was preceded in Death by his grandson Steven Michael Chitwood, and father Robert Kelly Chitwood.
Mike was born September 20th 1949 in Joplin to Bob and Irene Chitwood. In his youth he enjoyed playing baseball, and playing trumpet in high school. He boxed in Golden Gloves under the coaching of Johnny Copeland.
Later in life he enjoyed coaching his two daughters’ softball team, being around family and friends, bowling, being at the lake, he had been an active member in the Joplin Shrine Antique Autos club, He most loved his time with grandkids, and great grandkids. He was a member of the Masonic Fellowship lodge 345, and was a member of Spring City Baptist Church, where at one time he was the Sunday School Director, and music leader.
Mike began work at Richmand’s Service Station in Joplin. He later worked for Foremost Dairy, and Fred’s Frozen Foods before he and his wife Carol began their own business Chitwood Excavation in the late 70’s. The business expanded and became Chitwood Construction in the early 80’s to do general contracting and provided custom excavation work for companies such as Atlas Powder, Satterlee Plumbing & Mechanical, Crossland Construction, R.E. Smith, Dalton Killinger, Fagan Electric, and Allen Electric. His son Darren joined the business in 1984. Mike, and Carol, had many faithful friends as employees, and customers over the years.
Will your kids brag on you?
Will your kids brag on you?
6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.
All of us who are Grandparents know it just comes natural to be proud of our grandchildren, but do you ever think about being proud of your father?
Or do you think about will your children be proud of you? I'm not talking about them being proud of all you what you are or what you accomplished in life, I am talking about them being proud of who you are, and how you touched their life. It was not until just the last few years that I really thought about how proud I was of who Mike Chitwood was.
These last few it has been a privilege to have a part in taking close care of my father. My sisters, and of course my mother has been a big part of his last days care.
In these last few months of his life, he and I have had many spiritual discussions, and moments. He has shared some things with me, and I him.
One of the things I got to share with him was how proud I am of who he is, and how many lives he touched in the short life he lived. He has told me how proud he was of me many times throughout my life, and I got to tell him I was proud of him.
This is my opportunity to brag on my dad, to tell you how proud I am of hi. Some of you this man we are honoring today is your dad, for some it's your grandpa, your husband, your son, your brother, your uncle, even your dad's uncle, and some of you he was your friend, or your dad's friend, and finally for some here he was your boss at one time. I am sure that most of you here today can say that they are proud of Mike Chitwood in some way.
Even though I know he was not perfect, no one is; "except one Jesus Christ" I am going to compare his life as a father to what the Bible says the perfect father should be.
Some of you have dad's you will be proud of one day if you are not already.
Some of you have dad's, but they are not in the home, and some have dad's in the home but they are still absent. It is my prayer that they will see what God is telling them about how to be a dad their children are proud of, that they will see their children would rather have their time hunting, fishing, camping, playing ball together, or just a simple wrestling around in the living room floor than any large house, fancy car, or a job title to tell at show and tell at school.
I remember a time when one of my sisters had show and tell, or career day, or something like that at school. They were supposed to tell what their fathers did.
When Kelly stood up she told everyone that her dad cleaned septic tanks. I think everyone pictured this man climbing down in a dirty septic tank and scrubbing it down. If that was not a good conversation starter at supper, I don't know what is.
We all got a good laugh at the story when we heard about it at the dinner table that evening.
We teased Kelly as we always did, and still do, but she was really too young to know what really mattered yet, and dad was a hard worker.
He did not clean septic tanks by the way, he installed them for new construction along with any other landscaping jobs you would find on a construction site.
The key thing to think about here is we were able to laugh about it at the kitchen table over dinner because we ate together as a family almost every night, and both our mother and father were there to share how the day went for all of us.
Unless he had to tend to an emergency our dad was there for us when it was our time as a family. The job should have you eight hours, and you should give them a full honest eight hours, but that leaves 16 hours in the day for your family.
Some of us has lost that in our society. Dads as a whole in this society may be successful at their job, but they are horrible at the most important job they have, being a father at home, a father who spends precious time with their children teaching them, playing with them, and loves on his wife.
Our job as fathers should be to love our children enough to educate them about God, and then our goal is to make them proud of us as a man of God, a man like David who was called a man after God's own heart.
When someone asks our children after they have matured "what their father does", or "did", they should not say what their job title is, we would hope they would say they led them to the Lord, and that they were the best father ever.
Fathers, if you hear nothing else today that I have to say, please listen to this, and remember this.
Whether present, or absent in a child's life; dads, you have a very big influence on your children, and your families. This influence can be very good, or it can be very bad, your choice.
Some dads are a joy to be around, others their kids just cringe when they come around, or they don't care when they come around.
God cares about how we treat and raise our children.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Have you ever thought about your kids being a heritage from the Lord? What does that mean?
The word heritage is taken from the Hebrew word na ha law which means to inherit a possession, or property such as from a relative who passes away.
Use the knife as an illustration.
Dad wanted to make sure that this knife was given to me as a heritage, or inheritance. This was his favorite hunting knife. I remember when he bought it. He was so proud of it because it was so sharp, and he told me it would open the belly on a deer really easy without getting too deep, and it would cut right down through the backbone. The first deer he killed after that he showed me what he meant.
I personally think looking back, that he bought this knife so that he could give me his old hunting knife to use, not that this one is any better but the other one is smaller and easier for a young boy as I was to handle.
If he had left me a $100,000 along with this knife, this knife would mean more to me than the money. The reason is, he cherished this knife, and we both cherished the time we had in the woods together. That is what makes this knife more valuable than any money he could have left me.
This scripture is saying something like this that we inherit our kids from God, He gives them as a gift to us to take care of, and to love on till they go home to be with Him even though He feels like they are more precious than gold and silver, even more precious than the rarest diamond.
It is really no comparison as to how I feel about how precious this knife is to me, but God really feels our children are so precious to Him.
With that precious of a gift we should value our children as much as God does.
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Dad loved his family very much! You can probably tell that he loved them by seeing the look on his face in the pictures on the screen. He did not provoke his children, he never gave us a real reason to be angry with him.
Everything he did he did intentionally, and unselfishly. He protected us while also telling us the truth, as far as we know.
A good example of that is he took the time to love on each and every one of his kids, grandkids, great grandkids.
He developed a special relationship with all of them, a relationship in that would cause each individual probably to think they are his favorite.
They don't know it and don't tell them, I am his favorite.
Seriously though something about this special relationship he had with each of us I hadn't realized, until the Hospice chaplain brought it up while having a private conversation with mom and I just a couple of days before he passed. The Chaplain told us he was impressed and touched with the fact that dad talked privately with each, and every one of us children and grandchildren to tell us that he was dying in just a couple of months.
Now that is not a man who provokes his children, but a man who has a special relationship with them.
As the Chaplain said it is a special respect and relationship when he told all of us to not say anything to the others until he had a chance to talk to everyone. Everyone respected him enough to not go on facebook and say a word or let it out in any way until everyone knew.
The last part of that verse after not provoking them to anger says to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Now I am not saying we didn't ever get angry with dad, or him us. He never provoked us to anger, it was us that caused any of the anger issues, and that is because we were in the wrong. He was not afraid to discipline us.
I know one time when I was about 14-15 years old he was on the roof of the front porch doing some roofing, and asked me to bring him something. I for some dumb reason felt safe to tell him no and go about my business.
I saw a flash and I turned around just in time to see that I was in trouble.
Now you know you are in trouble when you do something you know is wrong and your dad jumps off of the roof flat footed to come after you.
But then thats now where the stupidity ends, I then thought I could out run him, wrong he caught up with me, grabbed me by the arm and spun me around.
Stupid trick by me number 3, my freshman mouth stepped in again and the next thing I know it is getting a fist in it.
That is the first and only time he slugged me, and meant it but he told me after he picked me up off the floor that if I am going to talk to him like an adult he was going to treat me like one.
Now, I am sure the girls have a lot of stories also, but my point is Dad knew when to love on us, and love us enough to discipline us. Dads we should follow the same example. Provoking our children in discipline is when we constantly nag, and chew on them, or we don't lead by example. We can't tell our kids to do what we say but not what we do.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged
This verse also says fathers don't provoke your children or they may lose heart. What that means is pick your battles dads, you can wear your kids out, let them be kids, but if they do something that is wrong they have to be corrected appropriately.
Finally, I saved the best for last.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Dad loved mom so much, that he would do anything for her including giving his life for her.
Two years ago when mom was in the hospital in St Louis a bypass surgery on her heart went bad. She really needed a heart transplant at the time. He was so worried about her he was serious when he wanted to give his heart for her. He knew his lungs were bad but his heart was strong. He was willing to give up his life for her.
Husbands, we may or may not have to give up our lives for our wives, but I know what we can give up. I think it would be safe to say that there are husbands here today young, and old who have not matured enough yet to realize what they are doing wrong to their families. Myself included.
I pick on the millennials' alot maybe because I just don't get them, and maybe I was just like them but different. It seems like the young men today are not becoming men as early as women are becoming women.
These men may be married, growing some facial hair, and even making babies but that does not make them men. There exists in society a large group of males who never leave adolescence even in their 30's and 40's.
These guys think that there only job is to go to work, then when they come home it is rest time, or play time. Some of these guys spend hours locked in a room, or what we sometimes hear it called a "man-cave" playing video games, or watching useless sports on television. Others don't want to give up their time with friends, old buddies who don't have wives of their own.
An occasional time to be refreshed on your own is needed, but all the time is not good to keep a healthy marriage relationship.
Us guys don't mean to but we are hurting our wives, and if there are kids involved they are destroying any chance of having a truly great relationship with their kids, a relationship their kids will be proud of.
Husbands think about this.
I have heard it said that you can tell how good the couples marriage relationship is at home by looking at the face of the wife. Take a good look at your wives face at times when she is doesn't know it, and see what kind of affect you are having on her.
Dad, and mom were married for 53 years, I know they had some struggles in the early years, but they both were adolescents in love, then I came along.
Dad was 16 when I was born a kid himself, but he pulled himself out of that adolescent stage fairly quickly, and raised a wonderful family, and he and his wife loved each other so much. Mom always had a smile on her face, you could tell they had a very loving relationship together.
What about it men, husbands, when are we going to love our wives more than we love ourselves? When are we going to give up our lives for them?
Not our actual life, but the selfish life we sometimes live that is sucking the love life right out of our marriage, and our wife and children.
I don't want anyone to leave here today ashamed of the father, or husband they were, or are. I am not saying shame on you, or shame on me.
If you have been a horrible father or husband in the past like I have been, I want you to think of it as taking the shame off of you. Do you know you can forget the past, and move on to being a great husband, and father. Over time I think our wives and kids will forgive us.
Those of you who have got it, you know what a great father and husband is, pick these other guys up, and mentor them so they can know what a great father, and husband looks like.
There are also a lot of single moms out there, and there are a lot of children that are starting to raise children without a clue what a father should be. Not saying a mother can't do a great job, but they are not a father.
It is like I said before " a father is a big influence on their children whether absent or present, positive or negative".
I want to thank you all for coming today to celebrate the wonderful life that my father Mike Chitwood had, and the wonderful example that his life taught.