In this excerpt, Tim Conway shares about his father’s death and the things surrounding it, and what he shared while preaching at his father’s funeral.
James: The following clip was taken from the live Question & Answer Session that we had last night. The majority of the questions dealt with parenting and children. And one of the questions was about honoring your parents, even if your parents are abusive. And during that time, Tim shared about his own father and his dad’s death.
Tim: Oh, my dad… my dad was such a wicked man. I would sometimes pray in the same prayer: God, kill him or save him because he was such… I’d want God to kill him because I wanted God’s honor and my dad would dishonor God. And I pleaded He’d kill him or save him. I think we can honor our parents by praying for them. We can honor them by striving to maintain a relationship. We can honor them if there’s difficulties, if there’s some kind of breaches in the relationship, certainly as much as possible, we need to be at peace with all men including our parents. I think we need to strive. They are our parents and we do need to strive to honor them.
James: Someone’s asked if your dad ever got converted.
Tim: What I know is this, my dad got cancer. It sobered him up. My dad was not a sober man. He was a drunk. He would mock God. But when he got cancer, his mocking left. My dad called me. The day he called me to tell me he had cancer, he told me, “Tim, I’m in trouble and need your help.” God used John MacArthur’s “Gospel According to Jesus” in my life, so I thought maybe He’ll use it in my dad’s. So I immediately had a copy sent to my dad, which after my dad died, I found that book and I saw there were pages dog-eared. It looked like my dad had read that book maybe a couple times. He would call me and he would say, “Tim, I’m calling upon the Lord…” because that’s what I would tell him. “Dad, call upon the Lord. Call upon the Lord.” He would say, “I’m calling on the Lord.” He said, “But I don’t think God wants anything to do with me after all the things that I’ve done.” But I said, “Dad, you’re reading MacArthur’s book.” He said yes. I said, “you know, MacArthur talks a lot about the parable of the prodigal son. I said do you remember that in such-and-such place? Do you remember that parable? The father that had the two sons?” I said, “Dad, which son did the father receive?” And it’s like a light went on with him. And then, I mean, it made sense to him. He saw it. But I don’t know what happened.
My dad asked me to preach his funeral. When I preached it, I told the people, I don’t know. I said you all know my dad was not a good man. But I said I’ve come here. My dad wanted me to speak to you. I said I’ve come here to tell you that God saves bad people. I said, you know, my dad was not a good man. I said he’s my dad. I can say that. I’m not going to gloss this thing over. I’m not going to make it look good. They know. My dad had a foul mouth. My dad was a womanizer. My dad was a drunk. My dad was a chronic liar. He had one of the most filthy mouths you could ever hear on a man. But my dad was calling on the Lord at the end. And I told those people – I never saw how many friends my dad had. That funeral home full of all that Conway family, and I thought here’s my opportunity. And I told them, I don’t know if God saved my dad, but I know he was calling on the Lord. And I know whether my dad’s saved or not, if he could come back right now, I know what he’d tell you. And that’s what I told them.
When I went to my brother’s that night – my dad died in my brother’s front room in a hospital bed. They brought a hospital bed in there and that’s where he spent his last days. My brother told me – my brother was shaken up. He said, “Tim, I would come into the front room,” and he said, “Dad wasn’t even able to talk anymore. But he’d have his arms lifted up to heaven and he’d be calling out.” I think my dad was calling on the Lord right up till the end. Whether God saved him, only eternity’s going to tell. But I know this, my dad was a sinner. He was a great sinner. And I know that Christ came to save sinners. And he was calling on the Lord. So it at least leaves me with some hope that maybe… I’m hoping.
To view the full question and answer session on raising children and parenting, go here.