family

OF TIME AND VALUES

I took some time to reflect on the passing of time and its effect on our lifestyle. I thought about the impact time has had on our values and how we have changed our preferences over the years. I realized that what was hype to my generation a couple of years ago is now old fashioned. And what we were crazy over a decade ago now has a distaste in our mouths today. What we built our lives around before has suddenly become an unwanted relic in our space.Pebbles

Material possessions come and go and even an insurance policy cannot keep them longer than their determined lifespan. At best, you would get a replacement. Take a look at your parent’s house and look through the things you find in the house. Now imagine you want to build a new house for your parents and equip it for them making it as comfortable as you would for them. I bet a lot of the stuff they had in the old house would be given out, sold or destroyed. Those stuff would have no place in the new house. You might consider such things an intrusion in the new ambience you are trying to create for your parents. Now, some of those things which are now unwanted were da bomb in the years past. It appeared there could be nothing better than those items. We held unto them dearly and acquired more and more. Remember the TV in a box with shutters in front that now has a broken tube or the lovely 1980’s suitcase we were eager to take on a trip because we thought it just showed class. What about the trending fashion styles of the 90’s you had in different colours? Now you probably would be ashamed of wearing them today. Of course, there might be similar styles because of the fashion cycle we are sucked into, but it would not be that exact item, if you get what I am saying.

Time also has its impact on values. Time can appear to strengthen values and it can also erode them. Over time, we have redefined the values of beauty, confidence, devotion, faith, individuality, love, truth, … the list goes on. But I have learnt (and I am still learning) to reinforce the fundamental essence of certain values, placing value on the things that matter most – my relationship with God, my marriage, my family and the relationships I have built with people around me. The wind of time would blow over the things we hold on to, to twist and redefine our values in varying ways. We need to hold on to the things that matter most – things that bring real benefits, the things that money cannot buy. Know that material possessions are temporal and we can always get better ones. But getting a messed up value system can wreak a future. So never have a heartbreak over the loss of a material item. God is bigger than it.

Focus on nurturing the values that define your life. For example, nurture the habit of giving and generosity. Let giving be a very convenient virtue and not an act of compulsion. There are things you really can do without. There are some things you really would not need in future, contrary to what you think now. Bless someone else with those items. They would bless you from the heart. Remember, what you give out has not left your life, it has just become a sown seed in your ground. Luke 6:38 in the Message translation says, Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

Be generous with words of appreciation. Find good things to say about people around you. When you condemn, criticize negatively and put others down, you have not improved your own life and you have not blessed another either. But when you appreciate others and speak kind and positive words, you attract goodwill, you speak into your future and you bring a smile to the face of another – which is never a bad thing to do. Proverbs 16:24 says, Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Everyone has the capacity to appreciate others and to do so generously. If you can have a conversation with anyone, then you can appreciate someone. You only have to make up your mind to be more appreciative than critical.

You would also want to place value on your relationship with God. You could determine not to let anything interfere with that relationship. This is one relationship, like the one with your spouse and family, which must improve with time. You should be able to look back and say you have become more intimate with God over the weeks, months, years… Are we reading more of His Word, are we spending more or less time in prayer and communion? Has there been a change in attitude and character? Or are we explaining away our shortcomings, taking our acquisitions as a sign of God’s approval? Dear friend, time must have a positive effect on our relationship with Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

These are just some values that time must strengthen. You can keep getting better if you focus on what matters most in your life. These would always be relevant to your world and would never go out of fashion.

Thought check: What are my core values? How important were they to me five years ago and how important do I think they would be five years from now?

 

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MEN OF THE TRUTH

Sometime ago I shared some thoughts on fatherhood at a men’s meeting. At a time like this when we celebrate fatherhood, I consider it is appropriate to share those thoughts with you trusting you would glean some positives from them.

According to God’s design, a child’s complete development is dependent on the presence of a father and a mother in the home. Thus, fathers are crucial to the balanced development of children. You could be the father to your biological children or adopted children. Or you might even have the privilege of being the father figure to the young men and women around you. Sadly, we are beginning to see that the place of fatherhood is under threat from the subtle movement of the proponents of the convergence of sexes who believe that roles are interchangeable and can be carried out by anyone irrespective of the gender. The roles of the father and mother are not interchangeable and cannot be swapped. And thus the influence of fathers on human development cannot and should not be waved away.Father

Fathers must be role models for their sons and daughters and one of the dimensions of influence fathers bring to the mix is the influence of truth.

As fathers, we must speak the truth always. We must be people of our words. We see lying celebrated and promoted everywhere around us. It appears it is the preferred instrument of transaction in a world of competition and rivalry. Of course, it is the language of the devil. People lie and even lie that they are not lying. And really, you would always have to support a lie with another lie. When truth is thrown in, the cookie crumbles. Any agenda, institution or task built on a foundation of lies would inevitably collapse sooner or later. Lies, no matter how simple, can be very destructive. Interestingly, that little lie in what you thought was a trivial situation might portend a precarious situation for someone else. Make it a decision to always speak the truth, even when faced with a life-and-death situation. Tough words, right? But the truth always saves!

We must live by the truth – live by the Book of books. Our lives must be governed by the Word of God. That means we pass all issues, choices and decisions through the filter of God’s word. As fathers, let our words and conduct dovetail with the things we read in the Bible or hear at church meetings (where God’s word is taught). For example, we should, by our actions, demonstrate our respect for authority. When we run red lights at traffic stops, are we teaching respect for constituted authority or rebellion against order? To gain the honour of having your children hold unto your words, you must govern your life by the Word of God. Also, when we develop family cultures, these should be based on God’s word. When we introduce family traditions and develop values for our homes, the word of God should be our sounding board. We might want to ask, ‘How does this tradition or value resonate with what God thinks?’ Am I pushing a cultural ideology or building a godly home? These questions can be helpful as you develop your family culture.

We must defend the truth. We must be consistent with our stand. We defend the truth when we speak for the truth and practice what we say. We should be able to explain biblical truths and principles to our children so that they are able to deal with the challenges of life. Fathers should guide their children in developing the right perspective to life. Children shouldn’t be left to form their own opinion or viewpoint on life-defining issues. We are to train up our children in the way they should go. There is a way they are to go which we should guide them to set their feet on.

To be men of the truth, we should know the truth ourselves. We should know the word of God and know it thoroughly. Be as confident with the scriptures as a lawyer quoting sections of the constitution in a courtroom. We must fortify ourselves with sound knowledge of the truth. For us, the word of God is an invaluable and indispensable tool for building great families and it should not be far from our hearts.

Have a truly happy Father’s Day.