I would call my Dad and ask him what he wants for Father’s Day. But, I already know what he would say: “Nothing. I can’t think of anything I need. The Lord has blessed me and I am just happy to be alive.” Really? What’s the secret to his contentment? Eight lessons he learned from Jesus.
Lesson One: Always give.
Matthew 5:42, New King James Version – “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”
My Dad’s advice: When I was a little girl a man who lived in the neighborhood would often come knock on our door and ask to borrow money from my dad. My dad would always give him some money. So I asked him one day, “Daddy, why do you keep giving that man money?”
He answered, “If you have it, give. You never know, that might be you one day needing some help.”
Lesson Two: Always give cheerfully.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8, New King James Version – “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
My Dad’s example: My dad gives with the attitude that makes the receiver happy to accept the gift. He often offers financial gifts. If you refuse, he’ll say several times, “Are you sure you don’t need any help?” Finally after you accept the help, he’ll say, “Are you sure you don’t need any more?” He is so eager to give you almost feel like you’ll disappoint him if you don’t accept the gift.
He gave me this advice on loaning money: “If you loan someone money, consider it a gift—even if they say they will pay you back. Don’t expect them to, then you will never be bitter.”
Lesson Three: Be ready to help.
Luke 22:25-26, Living Bible – “Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men order their slaves around, and the slaves have no choice but to like it! But among you, the one who serves you best will be your leader.”
My Dad’s example: My dad is known for lending a helping hand, with a good attitude. As a result, people often ask him for assistance…
- “Mr. Smith, we’re moving on Saturday. Can you help us?” His answer: “Sure.”
- “Mr. Smith, can I borrow your truck?” His answer: “Sure.”
- “Mr. Smith, can I borrow your tools?” His answer: “Sure.”
- “Mr. Smith, we are going out of town. Can you cut my lawn?” His answer: “Sure.” (He often does this without people asking.)
- “Mr. Smith, I just got out the hospital. Can you go pick up my medicine and some groceries?” His answer: “Sure. Do you need anything else?”
- “Mr. Smith will you sing in the choir?” His answer: “Sure.” (I had to question this one because my dad doesn’t like to sing and he’s not especially good at it.) “Daddy, why are you singing in the choir?” His answer: “Because they asked and they needed help.”
Lesson Four: Be faithful, like a clock.
Luke 12:42-43, New King James Version – “And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.”
My Dad’s example: My dad is predictable. He has a habit of doing the same things, at the same time. On Wednesday night at 6 pm, he attends Prayer & Bible Study; Saturday night around 9:30 pm, he studies his Sunday School lesson; Sunday morning at 9:30 am he attends Sunday School and Church; and on the first Sunday after church, he takes communion to the “sick and shut-in”. Some people might say, “That’s boring.” But, when you’re doing the same things at the same time for the Lord, then Jesus calls you “wise and faithful.” My father has been faithful for many, many years.
Lesson Five: Be undeniable.
Luke 6:44, Living Bible – “A tree is identified by the kind of fruit it produces. Figs never grow on thorns, or grapes on bramble bushes. A good man produces good deeds from a good heart.”
My Dad’s advice: One day I came home from school noticeably upset. My dad asked me what was wrong. “My teacher doesn’t like me. Look at this grade on my essay,” I said, handing him the paper. It did not have an “A” on it. I was accustomed to getting “A”s. He responded: “Oh, that’s never the reason,” he replied, “you just haven’t worked hard enough. You see there is a level of excellence where you are undeniable. When you reach it, even your enemies can’t deny you.”
Lesson learned: You cannot deny good fruit (results).
Lesson Six: Do all you can, while you can.
John 9:4, New King James Version – “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
My dad’s advice: “Valerie, do all you can, while you can because one day there will be nothing you can do. If you do, you won’t have any regrets because you would have done your best.”
Lesson Seven: Never judge others critically—look for the best.
Matthew 7:1-2, GOD’S WORD Translation – “Stop judging so that you will not be judged. Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.”
My Dad’s example: I have never heard my dad criticize anyone. If he heard someone else finding fault with someone, he would say… “Oh, you just never know what people are going through” or “I can’t talk about them–I might have done the same thing in that situation”.
My Dad’s advice: “Valerie, don’t talk too long on the phone. Say what you have to say and hang up. If you’re talking more than an hour, you’re probably saying some things that don’t need to be said.”
Lesson Eight: Be content and easy to please.
Luke 12:22-23, GOD’S WORD Translation – “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat or wear. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes.”
My Dad’s example: My dad is notoriously low-maintenance. Everyone knows this, but still we try to get him something “nice”. Once for Christmas, someone got him a designer leather belt. It was high-quality and had shiny gold metal initials on it. He looked at it for a while, turning it over and examining it. He said, “This is nice. But, you know my initials are C.J.” (His full name is Charlie James Smith)
The initials on the belt were C.K. (stands for the designer Calvin Klein). My dad had no idea who that was.
Lesson learned: Think about how much money you could save and how much peace you would have if emblems, logos and symbols had no influence on your wallet or your self-esteem.
“And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.” Ephesians 6:3, Living Bible
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