With Father’s Day upon us, there are gobs of us searching for that ‘perfect’ gift for the Dad that has everything. My brother and I have been warned about buying our dad more “Dad” shirts. We’ve purchased all the tools, mugs, ties and made all of the homemade gifts. As we’ve gotten older and embarked on our own lives, I believe one recurring gift that my Dad truly appreciates is how we’ve chosen to live our lives in the Lord and those who helped us get there. As the old African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
This could be a youth leader or college student in your child’s life. For me, it was several brothers in Christ, who had families of their own, who took an interest in guiding, directing, and encouraging us to be closer and more like Christ. Two of the ways this was exhibited and most influential to me was by them being:
I was blessed with brothers in my life that reaffirmed the need for 1) good content in my entertainment choices (i.e. books, movies, music, television, etc) and 2) godly friendships. They knew the influence these could have on my growing faith and encouraged me to “seek good and not evil” (Amos 5:14). Although fallible, that dad or brother in our lives can be the first idea of what God is like. I have been reading through the Book of Isaiah and God has shown Himself to be our True Protector:
Isaiah 41:13 “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 42: 6 “I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You…”
Isaiah 44: 4 “Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you…”
I can hardly express how valuable it was, and still is, for the brothers to spend time thinking about life choices and ‘next steps.’ The question really came down to, “if I do/choose (fill in the blank), how will this choice affect my life?” It could be in regards to my career path or an experience that could affect my faith, but we talked about it. Like Paul and Timothy who undoubtedly spent a lot of time together serving (there are six epistle greetings that included them both) it was great to know I could count on that faithful brother being in Bible study and available for a discussion. In Luke 14: 28-30, Jesus summarizes the importance of counting the cost of spiritual decisions; however, this can be applied in all aspects of life and my brothers helped me think through my decisions.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”
All in all, the direction I received was couched in love and respect and will be invaluable for all of eternity. Your parents point you in a direction and along the way reinforcements are needed. I thank God for those godly men who cared enough to walk and talk with me on this path to Heaven.
By Bridget Cook
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