6 Minute Read


Genesis 48:1–49:33
Matthew 15:29–16:12
Psalm 20:1-9
Proverbs 4:20-27


Genesis 49:33 (CSB) “When Jacob had finished giving charges to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, took his last breath, and was gathered to his people.”


Wouldn’t it be nice if things happened the way Genesis 49:33 says it happened for Jacob and his children? He gave his last words of instruction and blessing to his family, he pulled his feet up into his bed, and then quietly and peacefully walked through death’s door.

The problem is, it very rarely happens that way. A lot of things are left unsaid and undone when a parent dies. And the children are left with questions – and maybe an internal, nagging void – as a result.

Since we don’t know when we are going to die, we had better live intentionally with our children. We had better make sure that we are actively instructing them on how to live.

But, just as importantly, we had better be on good terms with our family. We had better live in such a way that things aren’t left unsaid, relationships aren’t left broken, regrets aren’t the experience of those left behind when it comes our time to die.

I want to be very transparent for a few moments since our Verse for Today is talking about parents passing on instruction and a blessing to their children before they die so that the things that need to be said are not left unsaid.

I loved my Grandpa Ellis. He and Grandma were such a blessing to me in my formative years. When I began dating Kim, they welcomed her with open arms. When we were married, they went to Lexington to attend our wedding. But my Dad told me that his dad, my grandpa, never spent any time with him. They never spent time together doing dad-son things. So, when my Grandpa passed away on February 2, 2014, I knew that my Dad was left with unmet needs. He was a son that didn’t feel adequately affirmed by the man he called “dad.”

Since my Dad never developed a wonderful relationship with his father, and since he had a nagging void in his soul as a result, he didn’t have a frame of reference for how he would be a dad to me and my three siblings. As a result, my dad never attended a baseball game during my years in little league or any of my band concerts. We never threw a baseball together, or a football, or anything. The first time my dad attended anything that I was connected with was my high school graduation.

I graduated from Galena Park High School on May 30, 1988 at Hofheinz Pavilion on the campus of the University of Houston.

Now, my dad is suffering from dementia in a long-term care facility near Cincinnati. Fortunately, we have had time to talk. There is no question about our love for each other. He apologized awhile back for not being there for his four kids at the times when his presence would have meant the most.

I asked my Dad and brother to pose for a picture when we visited him a few months ago.

And, of course, I forgave him. I cannot stand in judgment because I have messed up plenty of times with my own sons.

As a dad, while I have tried to attend virtually every baseball and football game, band concert, award ceremony, and everything else that my boys are involved with, I am far from perfect, too.

There have been plenty of times when I have let my boys down. There have been times when I have been too harsh – or self-centered. I have had to apologize to my boys over and over. But, it is my hope that there will be no regrets, no words left unsaid, when God calls us home, one-by-one.

When my Dad eventually walks through death’s door, there will be no regrets. When he eventually breathes his last, there won’t be any “what ifs.” We’ve made peace.

But this is not the case for far too many families. Too many families are at odds. Harsh words are said and no apologies are given. Mistakes, or even sins, against each other are committed and unforgiveness is held to tightly. Sometimes, family members even refuse to speak to each other.

And when a death occurs, there are regrets. (If there are no regrets, it can only be because hearts have grown so cold and calloused.)

Those regrets can lead to anger …

… which eventually turns into bitterness.

Don’t live that way, parents! Love your family! Make your love clear to them. Spend time with them, teach them, and look for opportunities to affirm them. When there is disagreement or wrongs committed, quickly forgive and renew the relationship.

Then when it comes your time, or your loved one’s time, to die, there will be no regrets.

Genesis 49:33 (CSB) “When Jacob had finished giving charges to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, took his last breath, and was gathered to his people.”