Rev. Macklin: ‘Are you making a living or making a life?’

The Rev.  Lewis Macklin

The Rev. Lewis Macklin

A motivational speaker at a seminar asked three fathers from the audience to come toward the podium. They are all asked, “When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning you, what would you like to hear them say about you?”

The first guy says, “I would like to hear them say that I was the great doctor of my time, and a great family man.”

The second guy says, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather who was an amazing school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow as well.”

The last guy replies, “I would like to hear them say, ‘LOOK!!! HE’S MOVING.’”

Being a father is hard work. You must juggle the fine balance of when to be tough, gentle and smart, and how to provide for your children. My father-in-the-ministry, the late Rev. Lonnie KA Simon, pastor emeritus of New Bethel Baptist Church, proposed an impactful question at a high school baccalaureate service: “Are you making a living or making a life?” He explained that making a living is when you just earn money because you have to or because you want to. Making a life is when you’re serving someone because you want to.

He reasoned that when all you do is make a living, you will miss the opportunity to give to others. Life is too short to spend time making a living so you can buy freedom on the weekends. When you give to people, it makes you feel special and happy because you know you’re caring for someone.

A godly father provides beyond the physical needs of his children. He must be vested in their spiritual and emotional needs as well. What do our children need? They need us to be present. Our children need our time. They need patience, kindness, compassion, direction, discipline and affection from us. They need safety — physically, mentally and emotionally. They need our love. Financial provision is important, but we must not let it be at the expense of emotional and spiritual provision.

This Sickness is not Unto Death

Romans 8:18 says: “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” The Bible is right because there is peace in God’s presence.

I recently experienced a medical issue requiring the excellent care of the ministry of health at Mercy Health. Taking from the playbook of Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s protocol of public sequestration, in the event I ever become debilitated long term, I have provided instruction that mirrors this loving couple.

While in the hospital, I remember telling my wife that I didn’t want to leave her, but being a burden wasn’t a very viable option. Thankfully, God has way more options than me, and healing is slow and steady. I am grateful for those who realized something was amiss. “If you see something, say something” is not just for reporting criminal activity.

I tried to be tight-lipped about my condition, but it’s hard to ignore the obvious. But beyond vanity, the prognosis is great. That said, the Reagan protocols to shield me were shielded! My personal testimony can be best summed up by “Lord You Are Good.”

The present circumstances we go through pale in comparison to the glory God is going to reveal in life. You and I will come out of the uncomfortable moment stronger and better than how we entered it.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

My role of being a father and a dad continues to be greatly influenced by my own God-given gift: Lewis W. Macklin Sr.! By his selfless example, I embody the role of fatherhood as both an obligation and opportunity.

I have always considered it a high honor and blessing to share his name and blood. However, for the record, never, ever call me Junior. I was scolded by my mother who once saw my signature with the Jr. at the end. She stressed that it was not my name — it was “the Second,” as noted on my birth certificate.

My dad, who constantly displays integrity and ethics, is someone who shows his love in little ways that mean a lot: in bits of wisdom shared; reassuring hugs and smiles that say “good job”; in quick reminders; a silly joke; and all the special ways of being there for his family. Whether he’s helping out, giving advice, solving a problem or just having fun, he puts love into everything he does. Thank you for being the best dad anyone could have!

When I recently experienced an issue that required medical intervention, I asked my wife to inform my dad but implored that he did not come to the hospital. He disregarded the appeal — of which I was grateful. When he surprised me, his response to the 56-year-old lying in the hospital bed was, “Nothing will stop me from seeing my baby!” To be clear, that 56-year-old guy/baby felt the love as Dad hugged me in that bed!

What my natural father did was a reflection of our Heavenly Father. God, the Father, will let nothing stop Him from seeing about His children. Chris Tomlin conveys the message in song that He’s a “Good Good Father.”

Counting My Blessings

To my natural and supernatural children — Ashley, Donnell, Kelli, Suntierra, Naomi Antwonya, Jasmine and Emily — thank you for the privilege of being your dad. I often say, “I don’t claim to be the world’s best dad, but I am your best dad because I won’t let anyone else do my job!” Love you all to LIFE — not death — and WHOLENESS — not pieces!

Keep Pressing

The congregation of Progressive Baptist Church, 2258 Colonial St. SE, Warren, will honor the first pastoral anniversary of Overseer Jeff Stanford on June 26 during its 11 am services. The guest speaker is Overseer Marvin Barnes Jr. of Second Baptist in Steubenville. The theme, “A Pastor Devoted to the Destination,” is based on Philippians 3:14: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Keep Serving

The fellowship of Alpha & Omega First Baptist Church, 3120 Winton Ave., Youngstown, is proud to welcome Rev. Wayne Stewart and his wife, ShaPearl, as they accept the pastoral assignment. Pastor Stewart is from the Cleveland area.

Keep Living

Pastor Kent Barnes Jr. of Innovation Life Church, 4478 Boardman-Canfield Road, is turning 40 years old. To honor the man and the occasion, there will be a celebration at 3 pm June 26, with Bishop C. Shawn Tyson sharing a message at the special service.

Perfect Peace

Prayers are extended to the family of Bishop Roy C. Dawkins, who received his heavenly reward. He is the father of gospel recording duo Dawkins & Dawkins and brother to Pastor Krista Tyson, Calvary Ministries International.

Keep Kicking

Congratulations to Rev. Kenneth Donaldson, pastor of the Rising Star Baptist Church and member of the Youngstown Board of Education, on the attainment of his black belt in taekwondo. He shared the four-year journey of his awakening, training four days a week at two-hour intervals. He observed that he didn’t do it for the belts, but for his best! His takeaway: “I have much to learn as a student [of taekwondo], what I have learned thus far is you can do much more than you think you can! Show up, and since you are there, you might as well give your best. It’s much more than kicking and punching, but a way of life!”

Wholesome Family Events

Youngstown United as One is hosting the first Youngstown Funk Fest for Father’s Day at Wick Park, 260 Park Ave., from noon to 9 pm today. The free music festival will feature Geo C and Tha Storm, Total Package, the Matrix and others. Bring your family and a lawn chair for an entertaining, funky good time.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday since 2021 that pays tribute to the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is noteworthy that the Youngstown community has honored and recognized Juneteenth years before it became a popular concept. The weeklong festival concludes today at the Eugenia Atkinson Center. The Juneteenth festivities will begin at noon, and Harambee will perform at 3 pm

The Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County will host its annual Chalk on the Walk from 11 am to 3 pm June 25 at Courthouse Square Park in downtown Warren. The event features live music, character performers, face painting, vendors, a chalk giveaway and drawing.

The YSU Summer Festival of the Arts will be held at Wean Park, 229 E. Front St., downtown Youngstown, on July 9 and 10. The annual arts festival features juried art for sale, music, theatrical performances and food. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm, July 9 and 11 am to 5 pm July 10.

Thoughts and Prayers?

Yet another sacred place has become the site of a mass shooting — this time outside Birmingham, Alabama, with the loss of several senior citizens. This community was known for its civil and civic rights efforts after houses of worship had been violated. Lest we forget the little girls killed or permanently injured while attending Sunday School. This recent episode of the elderly simply attending a potluck dinner is beyond tragic. We cannot become desensitized to the acts of violence committed against humanity. Whether local or national, we cannot become numb to the challenges of safe community to all. As the elders used to say, “We must put legs on our prayers!”

A Prayer to Our Father

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your grace and Your mercy. We come to You with a heart full of thanksgiving, that every good gift and every perfect present comes from You. Lord, we thank You for all that You’ve done and all that You’re going to do.

Father, please place Your hand on our finances and resources. Father, Your word says that You have given us the ability to generate wealth. Therefore, Lord, we trust in Your ability to prosper us in this time. Father, take hold of our lives and teach us to prosper in this season.

Father, bless the work of our hands, heart and mind that we will be able to find opportunities to prosper in this season. Father, Your very name speaks to Your supernatural ability to provide and destroy seasons of lack.

Over and over in your word it is clear that You hear and answer the petition of Your children. King David wrote that he has never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread. I know God that You never fail and will stand on this promise, dear God, and trust in Your ability to provide as we continue to keep the faith.

The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department, president of the Baptist Pastors Council and the local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of six children and eight grandchildren and their mischievous canine, Sir Winston. All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.

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