Ruby Ring

Luke 15:22

January is the month of my only son’s birthday. His childhood and teen years were nothing short of a joy to me and my wife, and he is now a very talented worship leader in a large and growing Dallas congregation.

I have previously mentioned that my father was a preacher, but he died when I was only 12 years old. My older sister was 16, and my younger brother had just turned 11. After a brief but fierce battle with lung cancer, he died four days past his 41st birthday. As a result, I vowed to heavily invest in my children for whatever time I had with them, and God has seen fit to let me see them grow up.

When my son was three years old, I wrote a song about the symbol of our male bonding and the connection I felt between him and my father.

When I was a little boy on my Daddy’s knee,he would bounce me up and down; he would tickle me. He would whistle tunes and he would sing; I could ask my daddy anything, and I loved to ask about his ruby ring.

He told me, “Son this was my daddy’s ring, it’s all he left to me. He was young when he died; I was just eighteen. One day you will wear this ring; it’s all I have to give. Then you’ll know that I loved you as long as I lived.”

ruby ring

The ring was a simple gold band with a single ruby stone that my grandfather wore daily. He was buried on my father’s 18th birthday, and the rest of the family said my dad should have it, since he was now a man. When I was growing up, my father always told me I would get the ring on my 18th birthday as a sign of manhood. After he died, my mother kept it safe until then. When I turned 18, I was given the ring. My plan was to continue the tradition of marking when the son becomes a man.

I remember one day, a couple of years after my father died, I was grieving particularly painfully. I clearly – not audibly, but clearly heard God say, “I am your father now.” It wasn’t eerie, like Darth Vader telling the ugly truth to Luke Skywalker. It was a relief and a comfort. God was personally stepping in where my father could not, not only teaching me to be a man, but teaching me to be a father. I had acted as a prodigal, but he loved me and accepted me.

At his birth, I gave my son my father’s name – my name. On his 18th birthday, I gave him my father’s ring. The thing I added to the tradition was a speech. The ring symbolized his heritage as a man of God and a minister of God. Though my son was far from prodigal, I wanted to instill a sense of unconditional love and the rights and responsibilities that accompany our relationship as fathers and sons.

Just as the father in Jesus’ parable affirmed total love for his son, he also bestowed full authority by placing a signet ring on his son’s finger. In spite of the times we have squandered our inheritance, the father loves and restores us, accepting us as his children and restoring to us full authority to act in his name.

Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 8:54 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That is so beautiful, Wes! Thank you for sharing this story and reminding us of the importance of tradition and heritage.

    • Thanks, Janet. It’s great to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and yours in the Land of Enchantment.

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