Be responsible | Devotions with Dad

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Be responsible

For DAD Only:

Father’s Little Dividend

Do you have an IRA, a 401k, or a mutual fund?  If so, perhaps you will be financially secure some day–especially once your children stop spending all your money on shoes and dental work (and then auto repairs and college fees).  However, you can get a better ROI than from any of the above mentioned opportunities.  (ROI means either “return on investment” or “really outrageous income” but I can’t remember which.)

There is a field of speculation which opens a wide zone of risk, worry, and potential disappointment.  Yet a most rewarding ROI.  No, we aren’t talking about off-shore investing.  It is a domestic asset.  In fact, Dad, you have at least one share in this venture already: your children.

Contemporary society looks at kids as if they were liabilities.  Many times people give me a funny look when I say we have six children.  “How can you afford that many?  Kids are expensive!”  I let them chill for a minute, then tell them I would love to have six more.

Are children an expense?  Has our world gotten so greed-central that everything has a dollar sign?  God’s people shouldn’t look at children through a bank teller’s window.

I continually ask myself if I am investing or expending on my children.  Do I spend money on toys that expand their minds? Or on distractions that keep them out of my hair?  Do I give them morally enhancing reading and entertainment materials?  Or do I buy videos and electronic games that keep them spellbound (literally bound by a spell) for hours?

Dads that see their kids as investments do more than pay for safety seats and dental braces.  They read to them.  They challenge them to think.  They make them find creative things to do instead of allowing Pixar to think for them.  They teach them the principles of God’s Word.

Apostolic Dad, it is easy for you and I to feel smug, knowing that our children can quote Acts 2:38 and Colossians 2:9.  But an alarming trend today reveals that many people in our movement don’t even have the social graces and character qualities the public schools are teaching.  Ouch.  Sure, my kids know that we believe in one God, but do they know how to work without wimping?  Do they sweep under the rug or go the extra mile?

Once, I bought a vehicle from a polygamous Mormon.  (“Polygamous” means he had more than one wife, which is wrong according to Matthew 6:24 which says “No man can serve two masters”.)  This Mormon runs a large business which employs his many children.  However, I would trust any vehicle he sold me.  His crew knows how to work.  His young men look you straight in the eye, speak respectfully, and do a professional job.  This seems to be a far cry from the giggling, flirting, immature young people I grew up among in our movement (and no I never giggled or flirted,… much).

As defenders of God’s Name and His Truth, we can’t be smug and think we’ve got it all.  We must develop character and ethical behavior in our children.  Perhaps you could take this week’s story as a springboard to focus on building a good work ethic into your children.  Are they lazy?  Are they companions of fools?  Are you modeling what they should be?

Just like a 401k, you get out what you put into your children, Dad.  Is your child account overdrawn, or do you make daily deposits?

________________________

Dad, read this story with your kids:

Snow Regrets

“I’ve got a job!” Rusty announced on the way home from church.

Misty rolled her eyes.  “You?  A job? You can’t even drive a car Rusty!”

“But I’ve got one,” he said with a smile.

Dad explained to Mom.  “Sister Clark asked Rusty to come shovel the snow off the back deck of her house and off her patio.”

“Good for you, Rusty.”

“Yeah, I’m going to use the ten dollars to get some new drum sticks.”

“Ten dollars?  That’s a lot of money for shoveling snow,” Mom said.

*       *       *

The next day after school, Mom dropped Rusty off at Sister Clark’s house on Maple Street.  “My husband will be by in a couple hours when he gets off work.  He’ll pick up Rusty then,” Mom told the lady.

“Well, that should be plenty of time for him to get the job done,” Sis. Clark said.  Rusty got his dad’s shovel out of the back of the minivan.  She invited Rusty in and had him hang up his coat while she got something in the kitchen.

Rusty hugged his mom goodbye and watched her leave.  Then he went into Sis. Clark’s kitchen.  She had just poured him a cup of hot chocolate and set down three chocolate chip cookies next to the mug.

“Thank you very much,” he said.

“Oh, I know it’s cold out there and I don’t want you getting chilled,” she said.

She told Rusty some stories about her husband who had died a few years ago and how he used to shovel the snow and stack the firewood.  Rusty asked her a few questions and listened to her talk.  When he had finished his cookies and hot cocoa, he excused himself and went outside to start shoveling.

Even though the air felt cold, the sun shone down through the trees and warmed Rusty as he began scooping up the white slush off the patio behind Sister Clark’s house.  He had moved about three shovelfuls when a clump of snow smashed into his shovel.  Rusty looked up at the trees wondering where it had fallen from.  He shoveled some more when suddenly another ball of snow landed next to him.  He looked up just in time to see a boy duck behind Sister Clark’s shed.  The boy peeked back out, grinning at Rusty.

“Hey, I saw you!” Rusty said.

“Ha! Ha!  You should have seen yourself!” the boy laughed.  “You were looking up at the sky going ‘Duh, where did the snow come from?  You kill me!”

Rusty kept shoveling the snow off the patio.

The boy came walking over to where Rusty was working.

“My name is Rusty,” Rusty said when the boy was closer.

“I’m Donnie,” the boy replied.  “I live next door.”

“How did you throw a snowball that far?” Rusty asked.

“I have a catapult.”

“Really?  How did you make that?”

“With a shovel.  Come here, let me show you.”  Donnie walked back toward the shed.  Rusty followed him, carrying his shovel along.  “See,” Donnie said, “I put a piece of firewood on the ground like this.  Then I get snow in my shovel like this and I put the shovel handle onto the log about halfway down the handle like this.”  Donnie stood back up and looked at Rusty with a smile.  “Then, I jump up and land on the end of the handle like this.”  Donnie jumped and landed, making the shovel flip up into the air.  The snow sailed through the air until it plopped on the deck of Sister Clark’s house.

“That’s cool!” Rusty said.  He found another log and got his shovel set up like Donnie’s.  He jumped on the shovel and watched the snow splat against a tree.  “Woo-hoo!  That’s cool!”

The two boys began a snow throwing contest to see who could send theirs the farthest.  Then they got at opposite ends of the yard and began catapulting snow at each other, laughing and joking while they did.

After a while, Sister Clark shuffled out onto the snow on her deck and looked down at the boys giggling and fooling around.  Rusty stopped playing and looked up at her.  She looked down at the deck and said, “Seems like all that energy could be used on something worthwhile.”  Then she trudged through the snow, back into her house.

Rusty looked at his friend and said, “I’m supposed to clear out the snow for her.  I better get back to work.”

“Aw, just leave it and it will melt someday!” Donnie said while Rusty picked up his shovel.

Rusty hurried to finish the patio.  Then he started shoveling the deck.  While he worked, Donnie kept lobbing snowballs at him and snickering.

Rusty was feeling hot and even a little sweaty when he finished the deck, and Donnie had begun entertaining himself by catapulting a red kickball across the yard, although he never managed to hit Rusty with it.  Rusty let Sister Clark know that he had finished the deck and then went down to play with Donnie until his dad came back.

“Shoot the ball back to me!” Donnie called to him.

“Okay!”  Rusty put his shovel down on the log and put the ball down on the shovel.  Then he ran back and took a flying leap to land on the shovel and send the ball flying through the air.  Instead, he landed on the shovel handle and it cracked in half.

“Ha!  Ha!  Ha!” Donnie laughed, doubled over.  “That was cool!  Dude, that was awesome!”

“I broke my dad’s shovel,” Rusty said, picking up the broken tool.  “What’s he going to say?”

“I don’t know, but is that him now?” Donnie asked, pointing at the pickup pulling into the driveway.

“Yep,” Rusty answered.

“Tell him it fell off the deck or that a car ran it over,” Donnie told him.

“I’m not going to lie,” Rusty said.

“I’ve gotta’ go, dude.”  Donnie hurried home.

*       *       *

After dinner, Rusty and his dad sat down to talk.  “So what did you learn today, Rusty?”

“I learned what it means to be responsible.”

“In what way?”

“That I should respect people by not playing when I should be working for them.”

“Good, Rusty.”

“And I learned that a shovel handle is expensive.  I spent all my money to fix your shovel.”

“Hmm-mmm,” Dad replied.  “And did you look at the verse I gave you to look up?” Dad asked.

“Yes.  Proverbs 28:19 teaches me that I should work hard and not follow people who are up to no good.”

________________________

Now, let’s dig out the meaning:

How was Rusty being rude to Sister Clark?  Should she have to speak to him to keep working or should he do it on his own?

Rusty used a shovel as a catapult. What can go wrong when we use things in ways they were not meant to be used?

How should he have responded to Donnie?  Is it okay to play with kids we don’t know?

How can we tell the difference between a foolish person and a kid who just wants to play?

Fools play instead of working.  Wise kids play after they work.

What does Proverbs 28:19 mean for kids?  What does it mean for adults?

________________________

Read the following scripture with the family:

Brutal Reality

I Kings 13:7-25

Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.”

But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place.  For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.'”  So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel.

Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king.  And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah.

Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. Then he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”

And he said, “I am.”

Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”

And he said, “I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place.

“For I have been told by the word of the LORD, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.'”

He said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'” (He was lying to him.)  So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.

Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, ‘but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the LORD said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.'”

So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back.  When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse.  And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.

(New King James Version, © 1983, Thomas Nelson Publishers, used with permission.)

________________________

Wow, what do you think it all means?

Have you ever done something you knew you should not do?  What kind of self-talk did you use to convince yourself it was okay?  If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?

Why did the prophet disobey the voice of the Lord?

Peer pressure.

What should the man of God done when the other prophet lied to him?

Gone home like God said and then asked God before following him.

How can we detect if a person is a vain person, or a fool, even if they claim to follow God?

By their goals, by their character.  Do they know how to work?  Do they care about the needs and feelings of others? Or like the lying prophet, do they just want to eat and have a good time?

Do we encounter fools at church sometimes?

Don’t let this turn into gossip by talking bad about certain people.  Do make sure your children are aware that they shouldn’t copy others’ behavior, just because they attend your church.

Role play:  You are at a friend’s house and he/she suggests that you make prank calls on the phone.

Teen boys:  Your friend has his dad’s car and challenges you to a race in yours, out on a deserted country road.

Teen girls:  Your friend and you are at the mall when some guys she knows from school join you and start talking and making you laugh.  They suggest going with them to a new restaurant in town.

________________________

Memory Verse:

Proverbs 28:19

He that tilleth his land

shall have plenty of bread:

but he that followeth after vain persons

shall have poverty enough.

2 comments to Be responsible

  • […] BMW, we all can find fulfillment in our daily commitment to being the man God called us to be as a father, a husband, a prayer warrior, a Bible teacher, and […]

  • […] In spite of the bills, expenses, runny noses, mood swings, sinful nature, and everything else inherent to childhood, my kids are my greatest asset. They are my future. They redeem me from the curse as Lamech said of his son, “this child will bring us relief from all our hard work” (5:29, GNB). Ask the Lord Jesus to help you take your children on your knee and love them the way He did. Ask Him to help you see your children as a comfort, not an expense. […]