What Did Daddy Leave Us?
The children that God gave Janice and me are one of the greatest joys of my life. When my time on earth is over I will likely not leave them with many material gifts. God has taken good care of my family during our lives but much of what we have made has gone back into the work of the Lord. Giving to the church, helping people who are in need and the mission works that I have used our money for have been a tremendous blessing for my life. David wrote, "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." (Psalms 127:3-5) I do not know that it will happen but it is possible that one day when I in some cemetery somewhere that my boys might say, "What did Daddy leave us?"
I pray that Daddy left you a love for God. Training and teaching children in the right way of the Lord is one of life's greatest challenges. Here is the foundation principle and we all must do better in focusing on it. Jesus said, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (Mark 12:30) I pray that I can leave my children that kind of love for God. Let us teach them that God is our Creator and Sustainer. "Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?" (Job 10:8-9) I pray that Daddy left you a love that is strong enough to lead to obedience. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
I pray that Daddy left you a Bible and a strong love for that Book of God. My life has been filled with books. There has seldom been a day in my life from the time that I learned to read till now that I haven't read something. But of all the books that I have ever read the Bible is the only one that really matters. We must hunger and thirst for God's righteousness. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6) Without the word of God we spend our life wondering in spiritual darkness. However, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Psalms 119:130) The truth of God is what delivers us from sin, religious error and spiritual ignorance. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." (Proverbs 30:5)
I pray that Daddy left you with a respect for all people. Peter wrote, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34-35) We must learn to love and respect other as we do ourselves. The second greatest commandment stated, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:39) Every person is made in the image of God and is therefore of great worth before Him. God loves all of us and wants us to be His children. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27) Human worth is not determined by race, social standing, age, mental ability, physical characteristics or financial ability.
I pray that Daddy left you with enough manhood to work and support your family. God's children should not be beggars and free-loaders. You must not be sorry, lazy and shiftless. "Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." (2 Thessalonians 3:12) What a horrible situation it is when people have the irresponsible attitude, "Why work if the government or others will support you?" An unwillingness to work is disgusting and anti-Christian. "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10) Boys must be trained to accept their responsibility as family providers. Those who refuse this responsibility are worse than an infidel. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Timothy 5:8)
I pray that Daddy left you with a heart of integrity, honor and an acceptance of personal responsibility. The best way to discern whether or not we are making spiritual progress is to ask ourselves, “How do I live when no one’s looking?” The opposite of integrity is to live your life one way publicly and another life privately. Let us resolve with Job, "Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me." (Job 27:5) Honor of God and others is our obligation as Jesus' followers. The honor of God places the focus of our appreciation on the object of our affection, Jesus the Christ. Our worship honors God when our behavior matches our beliefs. Personal responsibility is not a burden, it is a blessing. When we take responsibility, we admit we are the ones responsible for the choices we make. We, not other people or events, are responsible for the way we think and feel. It is our life, and we, under God's control, are in charge of it.
I pray that Daddy left you with a heart that would help the poor, weak and unfortunate people around you. God expects us to reach out to the weak. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." (Romans 15:1) We must protect, help, encourage and defend the helpless. In Zechariah 7:9 we read, "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassion every man to his brother." (Zechariah 7:9) We must be like Job. "Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth." (Job 29:12-17) A benevolent spirit is at the heart of pure religion. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)
I want my children and you also to know that life is always better when we have Jesus as Savior. He is the Son of God and we should obey Him. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Heaven is too glorious to miss. Do all that you can to get your children to heaven. You will never regret your efforts to walk with God and to help them also. It will be great to hear God say “Well done good and faithful servant.”
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA