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Father’s Gift

by  Merrill C. Tenney

To you, O son of mine, I cannot give
A vast estate of wide and fertile lands;
But I can keep for you, the whilst I live,
Unstained hands.
I have no blazoned scutcheon that insures
Your path to eminence and worldly fame;
But longer than empty heraldry endures
A blameless name.
I have no treasure chest of gold refined,
No hoarded wealth of clinking, glittering pelf;
I give to you my hand, and heart, and mind—
All of myself.
I can exert no mighty influence
To make a place for you in men’s affairs;
But lift to God in secret audience
Unceasing prayers.
I cannot, though I would, be always near
To guard your steps with the parental rod;
I trust your soul to Him who holds you dear,
Your father’s God.

—   Merrill C. Tenney (1904-1985) was a professor of the New Testament and dean of the graduate school at Wheaton College. This poem, penned for his two sons, expresses the heart’s desire of a Christian father to pass on a lasting spiritual heritage.

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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13