Category Archives: Vocation

A Tire Performance

He looked to be about 25 years old—tall, thin and muscular. He stood at the back-end of a large, open, box-truck waiting to begin. It looked like it would be a boring, unglamorous, menial job of loading dirty tires to be hauled-away from the Costco tire shop. I was very wrong. Then, it began. The only thing missing from this incredible performance was an orchestra.

Tires started being launched at him in rapid succession as if from a “giant, rhythmic, tire, machine gun” inside the shop.  Not missing a beat, and with the appearance of no effort, he bent enough to grab the inside edge of each rolling tire. He skillfully used the incoming tires’ momentum, altered its trajectory, and slung it five to ten feet up into the back of the truck. Right arm, twist, sling, rotate, repeat. Over and over he did this with an occasional left arm movement thrown in. What an incredible show of strength, timing, and coordination. This man knew how to make something boring a work of art.  

Brothers are you turning every activity of your day into a pleasing offering of sacrifice to our God for His glory? “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). 

Do You Feel The Pull?

Prior to Jesus’ ministry beginning, He needed to put Satan “behind” Him (so do we). First, Satan unsuccessfully tempted Jesus to satisfy His flesh. Next would Jesus question/test God’s love? Finally, Satan tempted Jesus with, “… All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9a). Yes, Satan wants your worship, and he offers you treasures if you don’t worship the Father. Satan’s lures are of this world. The question is: How much of our hearts have we given over to the treasures of this world?

Then Jesus said, “Get thee hence, Satan (Matthew 4:10a).” We must get rid of our love/worship of the world and the things of the world. God wants all of our hearts. Now in fairness: Have any of us given Him 100% of our hearts? We wish we would. With that goal, It is a daily process of shedding our love for the world and abiding in Him. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15)

Seemingly, so many men are blind to the “death-grip” embrace they have on the world, which equates to love for and worship of these worldly things – leisure passions, success, status, money, pleasure (to name a few). “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:9b).

“But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men” (Mark 8:33). What do we love and worship, Brothers?

Beneficial Versus Harmful?

A healthy food item’s packaging proclaimed that it didn’t have 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives. Might that be similar to a person touting on his job resume that he never embezzled.

What we do with our time is far more critical than what we aren’t doing with it. How much are you seeking and learning of Christ?

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11). 

Motivated vs unmotivated

Teri and I were being checked out at a local supermarket, and I had begun chatting with the bagger while he worked. “Where are you headed with your life?” I asked.

“I’m going to be a graphic designer,” he responded.

“Great,” I continued. “How will you prepare?”

“I already have a degree in graphic design.”

“Super. Do you want to give me your phone number in the event I find something you might be interested in?”

“Actually, I’m not looking for a job.”

Here was a man who appeared satisfied with bagging groceries as “fill-in” work when he could be working full-time and developing professional skills. I was amazed at the “appearance” of his lack of motivation. I am looking forward to speaking with him next time I see him and what I might learn from him.

Have your children learned how rewarding it is to be diligent workers, accomplish things, and strive for greater skills? Oh, how good that feels. Yet, to the unmotivated person, the idea of work (and learning) might be a good reason for a nap until that idea is gone.

Much of life is about perspective and options. Establish the frame of mind in your home that work and developing skills is good. Please don’t make readily available things that are a waste of precious time.

If you have an unmotivated child, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what factors led to this outcome.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Steve

I Can’t

At my suggestion a man repair or build something himself, I have often heard, “I couldn’t do that. My dad never taught me how.” Pardon my candor, but so what! Anyone of average mental and physical ability can do just about anything he is determined to do. 

From my observation, initiative is usually lacking when “I can’t” is the excuse. This lack is generally due to a serious case of “couchpotatoitis” combined with “workaphobia” and “learnaphobia.” The symptoms become even more obvious in the children of the stricken parent.  

The good news/bad news, is that it is curable, but it is a rough, tough road. Feed the good appetites, and starve the bad. Cultivate a sense of pleasure and excitement from accomplishing things. 

Read these books with your children: Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family and Buying a House Debt-Free. Discuss the books, and give your children a vision for an adulthood of enjoying work and being debt free. 

Most of you have mortgages. Do you like that? Why not help your sons buy their first houses debt free as my five sons have? (I don’t say that to brag but so you know it is possible. Come on. If we can do it, you can.)

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:30-32).

Steve

Shared Secret

Many ask how I taught my children to do so many things. Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family is the long version of this.

Teach your children that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). If God calls us to do something, He will enable us. If we don’t know how to do it, we have to first learn how (the easy part), and then we do it. 

Parents set the example by being sponges to learn (and enjoy work). 

Learn:

  • of the Lord Jesus, first and foremost
  • technical/vocational skills (make your time worth something)
  • relationship skills
  • communication skills, one-on-one and speaking to groups. 

(Side note: if you aren’t a self learner, learning will cost you.)

Now comes both bad news and inversely the key. The enemy of learning is entertainment. If you and/or your children love entertainment, sorry. Ignore all of the above. Your children might as well be wearing a 100 pound backpack through life. Few want to learn and work when they can play.

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Steve

Odd Children

I was walking with a group of dads to the next session at a homeschool conference when the dad beside me asked a question. He struggled with his wording. “I have noticed some homeschooling young men, and well, there seems to be something unique about them. Well, ah, well, they just seem a bit odd. I don’t mean to be critical by that, but I don’t want my son to turn out that way. What are your thoughts?” 

I encouraged him there are two main considerations. To raise a son who is a dynamic follower of the Lord Jesus will be considered odd/peculiar by the world because he isn’t like them.

However, there is another sort of odd that I believe he was referring to. These are young men who can’t look you in the eye, are barely communicative, lazy, and unkempt. He agreed. I shared that I felt that was more the norm these days and not dependent on a particular schooling method.

One “odd” is desirable. The other is not. The good news is that we can guide and inspire our sons so that they are great conversationalists, diligent, resourceful, physically fit, and able to make a good living. Are you doing that? When the book of your life is closed, will your son’s praise God for the influence you had in their lives or complain? If a change of course is required, Brother, change course.

Want some help? I encourage you in these three resources: Preparing Sons, Buying a House Debt Free, and Making Great Conversationalists.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”(1 Peter 2:9).

“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).

Steve

It’s Honorable

One beautiful morning, I observed Bob, a veteran city worker, driving a gigantic, triple-deck, Toro lawn mower. His mission was to mow a small “island” of grass, edged with curbs and many obstacles. If he made one mistake, he’d either damage the city’s mower, one of the obstacles, or possibly injure himself.

If a mower could ballet dance, this one did. It gracefully flowed—grooming every inch, decks raising and lowering while whirling and twirling around obstacles. Bob was a master with an incredible show.

Chris is a sanitation worker. He “flies” along the streets of Leavenworth perched on a small platform that is just big enough for his feet. Before the truck stops, he launches from his perch grabbing bags of trash from the side of the street. In one smooth movement, he flings them into the gaping, hungry mouth of the trash truck.

Fifty years old and working like a fit twenty-year-old, Chris runs, grabs, throws, runs, grabs, throws, and then once again jumps onto the side of the truck. When I complimented him the Saturday morning he manned the brush dump where I was taking a load, he smiled wide and said, “Ya know. That day you saw me, I threw twenty-four ton.” What a guy!

No matter what you do to provide for your family, give it your all. There isn’t a shortage of jobs, just hardworking people.

I’m not aware of Chris or Bob knowing the Lord Jesus, but this verse would apply greatly to each follower of Christ. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Steve

Reliable as?

Have you appreciated the fact that:

  • days are 24 hours long – everyday,
  • weeks are 7 days – always,
  • the sun rises and sets – always predictively?

Can you imagine how difficult life would be if:

  • days varied from 16 to 32 hours in no predictable fashion
  • weeks might have any number of days without rhythm or reason
  • and the sun’s behavior was totally random, came up some days and maybe never set other days?

It is easy to take for granted consistency. Sure some might consider consistency boring. However, consistency makes life much easier and is a huge blessing.

Dad, how dependable are you in the good things that matter? You will consistently:

  • go to sleep at the same time
  • wake up at the same time
  • keep your word
  • come home when you committed
  • have personal and family Bible time
  • help with the children when you are home.

It must be all of the time, consistently! (BTW, It is not a blessing to be consistently late or lazy, nor to be counted on some of the time – the problem is not knowing when.)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Steve

Simple

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).

Steve