What is the cheapest and most expensive thing you have to give? It costs you nothing, yet what you give it to will either reap huge dividends or be a burden if given to harmful things. It is your attention!
If you pay careful attention to your Lord, His Word, your wife, your family and to increasing vocational skills–oh what value you will receive back.
Families are starved for their dad’s attention. In addition to my observations, I recently read how men usually stop increasing their vocational skills after five years of employment. May we give our all to our Lord, our families and our work.
“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).
I’m confident that every parent knows what it feels like when a child is ungrateful or has an entitlement attitude in spite of our best efforts to teach them to have a thankful heart. Don’t you agree that whatever we have given our children is minimal compared to the blessings our God has showered on us? What an awesome and loving God we serve, and oh how blessed we are.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if our children are ungrateful. Then again, maybe it is serious – far beyond our wildest imagination.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:21-25).
As a young airman in 1970 stationed in Thailand, I could tell the baht bus I was riding was entering the small town because the smell from the open sewers announced our arrival. Thankfully, it wouldn’t take long to become accustomed to it.
Driving west on I-70, there is a large cattle feed lot from which smells overtake you if there is a southerly breeze. I assume those living near it become used to it.
It is amazing how quickly we adapt to negative things. Sadly, our soul can all-to-quickly adapt to things after our initial repulsion. I’m confident that is why the Lord told the Israelites to destroy things that would be a snare to them as they conquered an idolatrous land.
“The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing” (Deuteronomy 7:25-26).
Are we being on guard for things that will ensnare us and our family? At first it may seem harmless, even a bit funny. However, Satan will package it any way he can to get it into our homes and hearts, but evil is still evil. There will be consequences.
Most people have two sets of priorities: the set they think they have and the ones they live by. I find it fascinating to learn their real ones. You can not find out just by asking them. They must be observed.
I think we might surprised ourselves by our real priorities. Simply observe what action or activity bumps another out of its place. The real priority is the one that wins.
I might say that spending time reading my Bible is important. If so, how consistent have I been? What took its place if it didn’t happen. What about family Bible time? What about exercise? What about time with my wife or time with my children? May we each examine ourselves.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
In 2010 we toured Carlsbad Caverns and in 2011 Yellowstone park. They are both exquisite examples of God’s beautiful creation. Sadly, God was not given any credit – not even the slightest during various guide presentations or on placards.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
Was our children’s faith weakened by evolution being given credit instead of Jesus Christ, the God of creation? No, not at all. For almost every day of their lives we have been in the Word together. It’s a special time of reading and sharing as a family. In addition, they have seen God’s Word authenticated in lives and know it to be true.
Sadly, now imagine the confusion so many (most?) children face who are merely taken to church on Sunday and then sit in front of a TV every day of the week? “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Many have it upside down today. When they think of how much something costs, they think in terms of dollars. In reality, they should be thinking in terms of time. We can always get more money, but we only have a limited amount of time. That scarcity makes time invaluable.
Most have heard the expression, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” They usually mean that they are spending their savings themselves, and there won’t be much left for the children after their death.
Here’s another perspective for you to consider. When Dad or Mom don’t invest time in the lives of their children, might they be spending their children’s most crucial inheritance? How prepared your children are for life, their character, their walk with Christ— isn’t that far more important than any amount of dollars they might inherit?
Child-raising years are priceless, and there are no second chances. No amount of money can replace what is lost in the child’s life. You that are heavily investing in your children’s lives are making the best choice. That investment is an inheritance they will benefit from for all eternity.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).
We just returned from Colorado and spent a lot of time hiking. I love being with my family, enjoying God’s beautiful creation and challenging exertion. The view from the trails greatly varied, but one thing was sure, you’d better keep an eye out for where you placed your feet if you didn’t want to fall.
It seems like Scripture shares a similar admonition. “Choose where you are going.” Every decision we make has a result. As you lead your family, what you do everyday will have an affect.
While hiking I was thinking about a session we give called “Building a Vision.” Oh, Dads, I plead with you to have a “vision” of where God is calling your family. To know and follow it will save you so much grief.
I am aware of some dads who have major turmoil in their family, and I have to wonder if things couldn’t be improved if they had a “vision” and then lived it. Sure it can involve some tough decisions, but life in Christ takes courage.
The best way to avoid a crisis is by knowing where God is directing, then go for it, one step-at-a-time, day-after-day. What’s stopping you?
“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7).
How often have you thought, “I can’t do this?” Maybe during struggles in parenting, or marriage, or serving Christ these doubts arise. Jeremiah told God he couldn’t do what God was asking, but God had a different idea. “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:6-7).
If we look at ourselves, yes, of course, we are unable, but we need to look at an all sufficient, all powerful God. It is His grace, His strength and His knowledge that enables.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
I once heard a description of a football game: fifty thousand people who need exercise watching twenty-two men who desperately need rest.
Have you observed something similar in some churches? There might be several hundred spectators who need spiritual exercise watching a core group who desperately need rest.
Finally, have you also noticed some homes where one person is greatly overworked, while the other family members desperately need to learn what it means to serve?
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).
Were you amazed when you read of how Aaron built the golden calf and then lied to Moses about it? I was! What was Aaron thinking of?
I couldn’t understand why Aaron suffered no consequences for his actions (Exodus 32). I have to wonder, though, if that golden calf didn’t eventually cost him his sons, Nadab and Abihu. Later we read that Nadab and Abihu took censers “and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1-2).
Aaron’s sons were learning well the lessons of disobedience to God that their dad “taught” them as they observed his actions. Their disobedience required their lives.
As dads, our lives are impressed upon our families. That impression will be for good or for bad. You choose the outcome by your thoughts, words, and actions. May your life be the best impression possible—the image of Christ.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).