Jump Start # 2926
Proverbs 23:24 “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.”
As many of our readers know, I have a son that preaches. He is preaching well. He knows how to connect, deliver and punch a sermon out. He is preaching all over the place and I am hearing about it. Some will tease and say, “He’s better than you,” of which I won’t argue but rather agree with them. There was a time when he used my sermons. Now, it’s the other way around. And, this will be an occasion when the son out shines the father, which is just the way it ought to be.
And, all of this brings us to our passage today. A happy father. He wasn’t happy because it was Father’s Day and he received all kinds of gifts. He wasn’t happy because of the accomplishments and awards that hung on his wall. No, it was his children that made him happy. And, generically, that’s true in many, many homes. We love our kids. We want them to do well. I have sat in the stands and watched my children get awards, do well in sports and sing their hearts out on stage. What a joy it is to see your children do well.
But our passage as a specific direction. It’s not the kid that hit the homerun and won the ball game for his team. It wasn’t the child that got a full ride scholarship to a college. Those are great, but here it is spiritually driven. The father rejoiced because his child was righteous. The father was glad because his son was wise. What mattered and what ought to always matter is the spiritual. Seeing your child on the field of sports is great, but what if his character isn’t great? What if he hangs out with the wicked? What if his attitude is selfish? What if there is no kindness in him? Or, certainly he can excel in sports, but what kind of person will he be? What happens when the days of sports end? This father, in our passage, knew what was important. His son was wise. His son was righteous. Right choices were made. A life was directed toward that eternal home.
First, too many parents live through their children’s experiences. This is especially true in sports. Maybe mom and dad weren’t good enough when they were in high school to make the team, but driven hard, very hard, their child is. Team sports. Camps. Off season leagues. Traveling leagues. Been there with my kids. One must wonder who wants this more, the child or the parent? And, what’s the price? First, it is expensive financially. A new glove. Better running shoes. This fee. That fee. It can sure add up. Second, there is the cost of the kid’s childhood. Summer days of playing outside, exploring, having fun can be lost to a world of traveling every weekend to another game. It’s good to let kids be kids. Let them play. Get them outside to see God’s world. Third, there is certainly the cost spiritually. We always made sure to get to a church when traveling to games. But weekend after weekend, your child is out of his routine of Bible classes back home. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He doesn’t connect well with the kids at church because he is never around them. Is the cost worth it? That’s something moms and dads need to talk about.
Second, parents can become jealous of their own children. The fact that we may not want to admit is that our children can be better than we are. And, in time, your child may make more money than you do. This can be hard to understand, given the fact that you have decades into your career and yet here comes your child and within a few years, he’s passed you financially. If not careful, this can sour your relationship with your child and make you bitter towards him. When people said to me, “I’d rather here your son preach than you,” my first reaction was, “I trained him.” Then I thought, “I was just like that when his age.” But let that air out of your ego. It’s ok. What I generally say is, “I’d rather hear him, too.”
Third, the success of your family must be measured spiritually. Got a kid who lives in a big house, drives a Beemer, makes tons of money, but never worships God, what good is that? The father in our passage was rejoicing and glad because his son was on the right path with God. Nothing in that passage tells us how that child was doing financially? Was his house paid for? How many cars did he have? Nothing. But, that father knew come the weekend, his child would not be at the lake fishing, he’d be sitting in worship. And, knowing that the child was righteous implied that he would be raising his children in a godly way. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that on any given Sunday, you know your children are in worship with God. They may live in different places, but they have been taught, shown and understood the ways of the Lord. The child in our verse chose to be righteous because his father had spent the time and the effort to instruct him. Maybe dad didn’t teach him how to build a shelf or how to throw a ball, but what he did take the time to show was how to live righteously. How to be a man of God. How to help others. How to please God and how to engage in kingdom work.
And, just why would that make a father happy? The father knew that the righteous choices were molding his son’s character and heart. The father knew that when he no longer walked this earth, his child would continue to live righteously. When the world was bowing down to the idols of culture, his child would be facing the Lord. This dad got it. He knew what was important. This didn’t start when the child was a teen, nor was this passed off to the local synagogue. This dad knew because he had been the one teaching, guiding and showing his child all along the way. Can you imagine the deep discussions this grown child and his dad could have. Not superficial stuff about what team is going to trade what player where. Conversations about life. Conversations about the future. Conversations about helping others. Conversations about God. Those things too often never come up in a home because Mom and Dad have so little interests and knowledge in those things. Not here. Not in our verse. The son was righteous. The dad was glad.
Am I proud of my son who preaches? Absolutely. President Harry Truman’s mother was once asked, “Aren’t you so proud to have a son in the White House?” She responded, “Yes, and I’m just as proud of my other son who lives two houses down from me.” And, that’s exactly how I feel. Proud of all of them. Most happy that all of them are walking with the Lord. That’s a parents greatest blessing.
Let’s get our children pointed towards the Lord.