Lessons from a Dad: Part 3 Major in What Matters Most
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”
Recently, I began writing a series of blogs as a result of reflecting on the 20th anniversary of my dad’s death. In the first one, I placed a list of 10 things I want to teach my girls. At the bottom of this post are links connecting you with the first three posts.
This is a lesson that does not come easy to your old Dad. Growing up, I did just about everything that I could do. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I realized there were too many activities offered and I could not do them all. I was “blessed” to have success as a long distance runner. I wish I was blessed with good looks, a family fortune, 6 toes, or something cool… But no. Nowadays, I don’t look like I have ever run much, but that is because I have retired… And I LOVE Oatmeal Cream Pies… and your mom is a REALLY good cooker. I would have cross country practices, marching band practice (though I don’t know how to read music), football practice, basketball practice, and enough beauty sleep to maintain my slightly below average looks. I am the self-proclaimed left-handed layup champion of Panhandle High School 2006. It helps that I am left handed, but you gotta take what you can get. I worked in the summers as a lifeguard; I was active in the local church; I loved going to D-Nows and camps in the summer. I was blessed with energy to be able to do all of these things, but my junior year I didn’t do as well as I wanted to in track. I had spent all winter playing basketball, which I LIKED and we had a killer JV team that year! However, I was not able to achieve my goals in track which I LOVED. Track was more important to me, so I resigned from my basketball career, I thought about having a press conference, but chose to take the humble route. I never played a varsity basketball game but, I was at all the games yelling and cheering on my friends. Girls, that was back in 2007 – options in extracurricular activities have only expanded since then. My summers growing up were relaxed and filled with lazy days at the pool or riding bikes or watching sports. I’m afraid those days are dying. Off-seasons last all year. Commitments are big and expensive. I was “blessed” to run track and cross country in college, but it changed from something that I loved, became something that I hated. The joy was gone, because it became a job – something I had to do.
Learn to say “no”, girls. This is not meant to be an attack on kids activities – it is meant to be a reminder that we all value certain things over other certain things. Find out what is most important to you, and do not let it be pushed aside. Let what you value be set by the Word of God, and be unwavering in that commitment. Tastes will change, preferences will change, you lose interest in somethings, and gain interest in others. Always fulfill your commitments, but learn to say “no” to some opportunities to make sure what is most important is getting adequate attention.
For me this is:
1. Jesus – which includes the bride of Christ. I see my relationship with Jesus as being my center, so that everything else, all the other stuff on my list, flow from this one, and not take away from it . The truth is Jesus demands all of your life, not just part of it.
2. Your mom, Morgan – God has blessed me with the most beautiful, smart, talented, wife I could imagine. My job, as a Christian, is to make my marriage the second-most important things in my life. EVERYTHING that steals from this relationship needs to be reevaluated.
3. You two girls – that’s right you are number 3. What is best for you is that Mom and I have a healthy marriage centered on Jesus. Addi, you may not remember the talks we have already had, since you are 3.5 right now. The most upset I get is when your mom is hurt or disrespected by someone. Addi, you are in a phase where you talk about what you and your husband will be doing because you and I have a sat down talked about how Daddy loves your Momma and will not let her be treated badly, even by our you and Bryn.
4. Career– I am beyond blessed that the Lord called me to be a pastor. I love my calling – it is challenging, it is hard, it is time consuming, it is never ending, but it is beyond rewarding. Those four things are all pretty core to who I am. I am a Christian, I am a Husband, I am a Dad, and I am a Pastor. I wear those labels with pride. I am not perfect, just ask your mom or the church members of Ira Baptist. I value those things. It is hard to keep them in the right order, but it is beyond important for you that I do. I am blessed that I am called into a career that is vital. My job is not a job, so many of my friendships revolve around being a pastor. Not all careers are like this. Find a career you enjoy, something that you love and either use it to build great friendships, or keep it from becoming a source that does not allow for great friendships. You won’t have many good life long friends. Cherish the one you do have. At some point in the last two years of my Dad’s life, someone gave him a book that is filled with questions and spaces to answer those questions. My dad took that book and filled it out, much of what I know about him is in that book. I have read it many times, and have marked in it some of the quotes that have stuck with me. This is one of the quotes from my dad, your grandpa, “Good friends are few and far between, and when you find them it is important to hang on to them. Make friends and be a friend.”
At the time I am writing this, neither of you girls are believers. I pray for you daily, we have gospel songs playing all day, we wing gospel songs together – His Mercy is More by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa is our current favorite. We talk about Jesus, we read the bible. The Lord may never call you to be a wife, He may never call you to be a mother, He may call you to be a stay-at-home mom which is an extremely difficult, noble, and unappreciated calling! You have so many options ahead of you. My pray is that you would recognize that Jesus died in your place; He rose from the dead, and that you would be saved by grace through faith in Christ. I pray that you become a believer. When Christ is the center of life, everything else fits together better. It has a purpose. It is not pointless. This makes saying “no” to good things easier, because you are saying “yes” to the most important things.
This is a lesson, as a former youth pastor, that I have seen in the lives of students. I believe, by the grace of God, this lesson is being exposed in the present moment by the Coronavirus and its ramifications. You are going to have to learn to say “no” to good things, or the important things will be sacrificed. Both of you are bound to be talented in so many areas of your life. Not by anything that I have done, but because you are 50% your mom. This means that opportunities will be aplenty. You need to know what are the most important things in your life, and then be okay with saying “no” to good opportunities when they infringe on those important things.
The pendulum can swing too far the other way, too. Don’t say “no” to everything, either. Laziness is not a good thing. Selfishness is not a good thing. Saying “no” because something is going to require effort and being selfless is not a good reason to say “no”. Push yourself, have a purpose, say “no” to the things that take away from the most important things in life, but say yes to other things.
Guard your time – you only have 24 hours in a day. You will have to be intentional with it all. You do not know how many days you have left.
Introduction to series blog –
Lessons from a Dad –
- Jesus is Better Than You Can Ever Imagine
- The Local Church is VITAL
- Know What Matters Most
- Have Fun
- Cry Well
- Be Kind
- Be Firm
- Apologize Often
- Give Your Best, Always
- Be a Little Better Tomorrow
- Blog posts without Ira Baptist Church updates can be found at https://moorewordsfromben.wordpress.com/