Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Gift of a Father

By David A. Sargent

    Vinnie Holloran and Larry Mack were the best of friends from childhood. Even in adulthood, they shared holiday celebrations, family functions, and many games of their beloved New York Jets football team. They even joined the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) together.
    On September 11, 2001, Vinny perished while responding to the disaster that occurred on that fateful day. Vinny left behind a wife, five sons, and a daughter on-the-way. Larry stepped in to help. Even though he had a family including two children of his own, he also became a surrogate dad to the children of his best friend.
    He took the Halloran children camping with his own family, spent time with them on weekends, and shared with them the love he and their father shared for the Jets, whose home games they often attended together.
    Mack's own children, 25-year-old Bryan and 22-year old Candice, are proud of their father for helping the Hallorans, and the Hallorans say they will never forget what Mack has done.
    After my father passed away, he was someone who really stepped in," Kieran Halloran, now 24, said.
    Connor Halloran, now 26, said his family went through a tough time. While many people sent notes of condolence or a casserole, Mack "was there in a much more real way," Connor said. "And he helped keep everything together when we couldn't."
    His brothers, Declan and Jake, said Mack was a kind of father to them. Not only did he take them on trips and hockey games, but he was a role model for them and their siblings.
    "I love him … his smile is like contagious and you just can't help be happy whenever you're around him," Phelan, the 12-year-old daughter Vinny Halloran never met, said of Mack.
    Jake Halloran said Mack is happy when he's giving to others. He called Mack's selflessness "an incredible example" to him and his siblings. "He himself is the gift and he gives that to my family … and so many other people," Jake added.
    Kieran Halloran says he knows Mack never had to do what he did for them.
    George Stephanopoulos concluded a video tribute to Larry Mack with the words, “We honor the memory of one father… and the gift of another.”
    Because of our sins, we are like orphans – without a father and without hope (compare Ephesians 2:12).
    But God loves us so much that He gave His One and Only Son to die for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins, become His children, and live eternally with Him (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
    God didn’t have to do this for us.  He wanted to do it because He loves us!
    “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice [or, “the propitiation”] for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
    God will save and “adopt” into His family those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), c
onfess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
    So, on this “Father’s Day,” we celebrate the Gift of a Father: the Gift of God’s Son, who through His atoning sacrifice, enables each of us to know God as “Father” and to receive the eternal blessings that He gives to His children.
    Won’t YOU accept His offer and become a child of the Heavenly Father?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* Information gleaned from ABC News.  To see the full report and the celebration in honor of Larry Mack on Good Morning America, see

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