Read: Proverbs 22:17-24:22
Seems like my family is on my mind this morning as these two sayings in particular speak to my heart. I’ve met several new people on this short trip and in the course of events the common request happens, “tell us about yourself.” At my age and season in life, there are two sides to the answer: my parents and my family.
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy the truth and do not sell it—
wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
The father of a righteous child has great joy;
a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
May your father and mother rejoice;
may she who gave you birth be joyful!
Just last week, my daughter Katrina and I went out for coffee and donuts and she encouraged me to reminisce about my father and the ancient days when I got the chance to work with him at Krispy Kreme. Such fond memories of going to the donut shop (as we called it) at 4:30am on Saturday morning to “help” make donuts. Dad ran two shops in Baton Rouge just before the installation of the donut making machines that are essentially the same as the ones we watched make hot donuts last week. In my memory, this happened frequently, but as a parent, I know it probably only happened a few times. Still, the memory is etched in my brain.
My father was kind and strong. He was the proverbial father who never spared the rod (and I’m sure it was appropriate!). He was one of those guys who never met a stranger, who would give his shirt to someone in need. My mom was as well, though she could be feisty at times! Her last days were incredibly difficult as she suffered from Alzheimer’s. My older sister did 99% of the work by moving in with her, but there was one week in the last year of her life on earth when it was my turn to care for mom while Charlotte took a much deserved break. It was frustrating and difficult for me to take care of mom that week, but I learned so much about the real meaning of love. The proverb above is written in a negative tense–I prefer: Love your mother, even when she is old.
I’m sure I wasn’t the easiest of children to deal with, but I pray that the joy I saw in my parents’ eyes years ago outweighed the grief and pain. Great examples of faith, they raised me on the Bible.
Gloating Like Daddy
On a family vacation in 2005 (ish), we had the chance to play of game of four-square with the girls: I won a game!! To celebrate, I gloated over the girls, the old man still has moves!! Oh yeah! Great fun and perhaps a teachable moment. We coined the infamous phrase, “gloating like daddy!” Ask any of our four and they will immediately remember the moment, but the lesson we hoped to impart was serious.
Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
It’s probably too soon to know if we did well in teaching the lesson, but I remain hopeful. My prayer is that we taught them to be compassionate people, not judgmental, adults that appreciate circumstances in this life change quickly. I hope they have learned something from our silly game of four-square.
These days my desire is for them to not only know and affirm Jesus in their lives, but to earnestly seek to become a disciple that follows Christ; one who learns well then teaches others as disciples who will make disciples. The wisdom in Proverbs provides a wealth of tools; timeless thoughts that beg us to be mature in Christ. Jesus started with this wisdom and provided practical words to be sure, but his life on earth was so much more than being the great teacher that he was.
Just weeks before Easter 2017, I pray that we, the big we, will invite others into this understanding of Christ, the crucifixion and most notably the resurrection! Not with gloating, but with wisdom, care and concern for we know the great Good News.