My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.Proverbs 1:8-9
I was counseling a young man recently and there was an assignment that came up in the curriculum we were studying. The book instructed its reader to think of people who play or have played an important role in your life. Some can think of friends, teachers, coaches, or pastors, but there are two people who will play a huge role in your life if you are blessed to have them. The two most influential people in my life are my parents, and God has used them to shape me into much of who I am today. I told this young man that when you are young, you will not want to give them credit, but the older you get, the more you think and even talk like them. You will find yourself echoing the words of your father with such phrases as, “The lazy man works double” or, “I didn’t raise no quitters”. I have used these phrases with my own kids, and it’s funny how the apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree. I hope they will pass these sayings along to their own kids, but my greater hope is that they will pass down what they have learned from God.
I fondly remember doing family devotions and being forced to say what I got from the devotion at the end of it. This meant that I had to pay attention and derive something that I had learned. I will say some days were better than others as God worked in my heart in spite of my rebellious spirit. I can still hear the instruction my parents gave me as they desired that I would turn out for God. I did not see all that they did behind the scenes, such as praying for me and the worry and care I must have put them through. Teenagers can be pretty selfish in many ways as they think only of themselves many times and do not see the heartache and shame they sometimes bring. I will never forget my mom reading her Bible or my dad taking us to church whenever the doors were open. I will not forget the verses put in my lunch box or the verses we would sometimes recite to each other as we laid in our beds in our 900-square foot home. I can still remember those verses even though my motivation back then was the promised Dr. Pepper out of the soda machine.
A Christian legacy is one to cherish and should not be despised. My parents were not perfect, but they chose to parent differently than how they were raised and they sought to raise my sister and I in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I can still hear the instruction of my father and the law of my mother. I can close my eyes and even see the expression on their faces as they gave instruction. I am grateful for the instruction I was given, and I still remember their words of wisdom. I would be a fool to turn away from that which I was taught as I know no other way to be sucessful in this life. There are sacrifices to be made when you live for God, but they are ever so worth it as you lay down foundational truths for those you influence. God’s instructions and laws should be taught from generation to generation.
Are you listening to the instruction of your father and the law of your mother? Maybe you were not raised in a Christian home, but God has now given you an opportunity to give the next generation foundational truths from His word. Maybe you don’t have kids, but you teach a class, coach a team, or mentor someone to whom you can impart God’s wisdom. We should always look for opportunities to help others by instructing them in God’s law and instruction. It is never too late to share God’s wisdom, and it is never too late to build a solid foundation.