Pee on the floor.
That’s how my Monday began. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that I worked late Saturday night and had another early day on Sunday morning. So I was just at a loss, on “E” in the tank –and my son, Hosea just so happened to have a moment of weakness—er –“inattentiveness” at the toilet…and I just couldn’t handle it. So I yelled at him.
Even as I’m writing this, my throat still hurts from the words that came out of my mouth in the form of screams. In those times, you almost immediately, sometimes simultaneously, regret what you’re saying even as you’re saying it. This brings me back two Sundays–to Father’s Day at Gracepointe Community Church.
It was a day of tools, arm wrestling, and an air compressor. A day where men-and particularly fathers, were celebrated.
In illustrational fashion, and in continuing our current series: Be The One, Pastor Chris brought a message to answer this week’s question:
How do I be The One to Build?
Using the platform of ‘the father,’ he encouraged us that we as men can bring and build influence in the world around us.
He used one of God’s first commands in the Bible to further his point:
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue (conquer) it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
“Take a minute and think about how entities like Google, Facebook, and baseball have permeated our culture,” he reasoned. “Can you imagine living without one of these?”
Chris suggested that just as these empires have found a permanent and prominent place in our life, God’s call for men is to do the same in the world around us. We, as believers, are to bring influence.
Lately, God has reminded me of the profound influence I have over my kids. I mean, they’re literally a blank slate right in front of me. As my friend Stan once said, “God has given them to you as ‘a little block of wood’ to shape and build something out of.”
But it begins with me. The land is only as healthy as the leader. And as I reflect this week, I ask myself, “How are Ben’s tools? Are they sharp and ready to build?”
They definitely weren’t that Monday morning there in the bathroom. However, one key component in the story has been left untold; it’s what happened after I had my “moment” with Hosea. And the answer is: nothing. Sure, he was silent for a bit as I not-so-eloquently explained the problem as it was happening. But as the clean-up began to come to a close, Hosea compliantly, without even crying, replied “ok” and went into his room to change his soaked underwear, followed by seamlessly bouncing into a conversation with sister and I about what he was going to bring to Grandma’s.
My take-away from this episode is one of gratefulness. One, I’m thankful that Hosea didn’t immediately distance himself from me or shut down, making it even more difficult for me to apologize and work my way back in. But two, I’m thankful because of the foundation of trust that is being built between Hosea and his mom and I. Sure, you can say that he’s only six and that kids forgive easily and so on and so forth, and I would agree.
But I would go as far to say that the culture that we are setting in our home—one of peace, communication, and ultimately, a home where the Spirit of God rests and resides, has to do with the little heart inside that little person. And I’m so grateful that God chooses to have a place in that process when I’m not so responsible with the process myself.
Quickly, here are three essential “faith building” tools that Pastor Chris encouraged us to acquire:
- The Instruction Manual (The Bible, God’s Word to us)
Is it a part of my life? Am I aware that it’s more than a set of writings? One thing I have realized about the Bible is that it is more than words on a page. It actually precedes and welcomes a totally different life. So often, when our feelings and emotions direct us to do things a certain way, the Word of God calls us to think and act differently. The best part is, when our lives follow God’s blueprint from his Word, there’s a promise attached that we’ll live the happiest and safest life possible, because it’s part of His original design for us.
…in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save the place of your affections and will. (James 1:21)
- The Hammer (Our words)
Just as the utility of a hammer can build beautiful structures, it can also tear down beautiful structures.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness (James 3:9)
Our words matter. How are my words shaping the world in which I live? How are my words shaping the culture of my home? And as a leader in my home, how are my words affecting the lens by which my kids see God, each other, and themselves?
- The Air Compressor (The Holy Spirit)
This tool represents the Holy Spirit–someone I’ve shared about in previous posts over the past few weeks. The Holy Spirit is God himself. And just as an air compressor converts power into energy, and stores it until it’s needed, the Holy Spirit (who comes to live in us when we accept Christ) is like stored energy inside of us. As we yield to his power, he enables us to live higher and greater than we ever could on our own.
What about you?
Are you aware of the profound influence you have because of Jesus? Have you received the life that he offers? Know that true influence and the opportunity to make a powerful, lasting difference begins with Him and the influence that he has in your life.
Let this be your prayer today:
God, I receive your influence over my life, as I aim to be an influence in other’s lives. Show me the great influence I can have as a follower of Christ. Take me beyond religion, and into a life of building others with the tools that you provide.