Words to Live By
By Jason Splitt
6/21/98 - Father's Day
For me, Father's Day has always been a day to "Remember Dad". I usually try to do something special with him, but since he isn't here with us today, I thought I would share a couple of stories - my way of "Remembering Dad".
It was less than 10 years ago, and I was a High School Graduate. At the time, I really didn't think it was a big deal. An accomplishment, yes, but not a life changing event. Sort of a stepping stone in life. I was already accepted to Purdue and I was enrolled in Air Force ROTC. We had the Graduation Party in our backyard in Sylvania (near Toledo). Before everybody showed up, Dad spent an enormous amount of time setting up tables in the backyard. Not just card tables, but the dinner-type tables we have here at the church. On these tables he started setting out pictures, then awards I had won over the years. Pretty soon, he started getting out Stuff from elementary school. All of my report cards. There was even my 3rd place ribbon from my 4th grade field day. Pretty soon, the tables were full. I have to admit I was somewhat embarrassed. But Dad was just beaming, almost as if they were his own trophies, pictures and awards. I could see his pride in my accomplishments.
I also remember I was five years old. Dad was out in the driveway working on the engine of our VW Beetle. He had the "Idiot's guide to VW Repair" and he said he would be done in about a half an hour. Two hours later all that could be heard was the R-R-R-R of a car engine that still wouldn't turn over. I don't remember much else, but I do know that we still drove that car for a long time. Whatever he did (or didn't do) seemed to work.
I learned several lessons from my Dad growing up - Take pride in what you do & in what others do, AND You may not get it right the first time, but if you stick with it, you can get it done. The scripture from Proverbs is advice given to youngsters. It isn't necessarily a father to son, although it could be, but rather someone who gives "Fatherly Instruction". When I read it, I felt as if the advice could be given to me. I took a "This is what I should do" attitude.
"In verse 4, it instructs us to "Hold on to my words with all your heart ... and you will have life." This is just plain good advice. How many of you remember your parents telling you about their experiences and how they didn't want you to repeat their mistakes?
Another prevalent theme is a similar saying in verse 10 "Take my words to heart... and the years of your life will be multiplied." Not only, is my life enhanced whenever I remember advice Dad gave me, but so is his. His life then lives on in my memory, even when we are not together.
Among the themes of these verses are some very specific points which you can Hold onto with your Heart.
The first is to acquire wisdom. Verse 7-9 state: "Wisdom is Supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her (Wisdom is a woman - which is a sermon to save for mother's day) and she will exalt you; embrace her and she will honor you". This scripture sets the stage of the other points and it puts you in the right mind set for the next several points. Get Wisdom - Intellectualize the WORD.
The next point is in Vs 14 & 18:"Do not take a course of wickedness ... rather seek righteousness". This is a Christ-like way of living. A way of behavior.
Vs 23 - & "Guard your heart" An emotional action which becomes "The wellspring of life"
Vs 24 -"Keep your mouth from crooked speech ... do not be deceitful" Naturally follows "Guard your heart" because what is on your lips is on your heart.
Lastly - Vs 25 instructs us to "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you." Helps us to keep our eye on the future. And to follow only the path righteousness
On our refrigerator at home is a quote from "Live and Learn and Pass It On III". It says "I've Learned that the teachings and examples of my parents are as valuable as a college education." I put it on our fridge to remind me that not only did my parents have an affect on me, but more importantly, my 'teachings and examples' are going to have a huge affect on my children.
I am now the one offering advice (both verbally and in action) so, I also put a twist on how I read these verses. So far, it was great advice for me, but what if I was the one giving it. What type of responsibilities do I have for my children? What kind of accountability do I have to them? How are they going to remember my advice?
This is a great tie in to the Ephesians Text. Which is simple and to the point. "Father's do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord".