Most fathers expend much effort to launch conversations with their kids — especially teenagers. But perhaps even more important than launching conversations is finishing them wisely and well.
You probably shouldn’t expect your son or daughter to punctuate every conversation by saying, “Thanks for your inspired wisdom and advice, Dad.” But neither do we want to berate them into submission so that their last words are muttered disdain: “Fine.” “You win.” “Whatever.” Even worse is the dreaded door slam.
Here’s a concept to hang on to. Endings — how you leave things — are important. At the end of every conversation, you want to be pulling your child toward you. Not pushing them away.
With that in mind, let’s consider how God inspired Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to close off each of the gospels.
Matthew ends with a clear command, often referred to as “The Great Commission.”
Mark takes those marching orders a step further, describing the actual actions performed by the disciples.
Luke crams quite a bit of action into the last few verses of the gospel he penned. He describes a gathering, a blessing, some worship, and joyful praise.
John’s gospel ends with a bit of a mystery. It’s an open-ended invitation to imagine the life of Jesus. The fullness of what he did and who he was couldn’t be written down. It’s too big. Too magnificent.
That’s four pretty solid choices when it comes to ending conversations.
Like Matthew, give specific instructions. Like Mark, begin doing something worth doing. Like Luke, bless your children by pointing them to God. Like John, give them something wonderful to think about, so they can make their own decisions long after you’re gone.
Your conversations matter, Dad. End them well. Years from now — for better or worse — your grown children will still hear your voice when making decisions, expressing love, and guiding their own children.