Home: Where Success is Born
As I stood at the front door watching my son, David, walk briskly back to his car my heart warmed within my chest. Working alongside the youth director at summer camp, he had just returned from taking his wife to the airport. Before rushing back to his responsibilities at the camp, he took time to drop by and wish me a Happy Father’s Day! That pop visit meant the world to me! The words of Psalm 127:1,“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” quickly came to mind. Indeed, it had been the Lord who intervened and overruled over the years in the development of my son’s spirituality and walk with the Lord. As a father, the mistakes and blunders on my part are countless. Yet the goodness and guidance of the Lord in my son’s life have been breathtaking to behold. As parents, we invest the best we can in the spiritual foundations of our children—Uncle Arthur’s Bible story books, Sabbath School, VBS, Adventist education, and youth programs. But in the end, the God of Israel takes our meager investments and creates resounding returns for His honor and glory. Far more joyous than anything that has been a part of my 30 years of ministry were those moments when my son was given his first pastoral assignment. Then later, the joy of witnessing his graduation with a Master’s of Divinity degree from the seminary at Andrews University. Later, participating in his ordination to the gospel ministry in the Keene church and, most recently, 11 years after I left the youth department of the Texas Conference, watching his appointment to serve the Lord and the youth as the associate director of that same department is overwhelming to my soul!
“Unless the Lord build the house....” Had his mother and I labored for his salvation and spirit of service? Of course, but without a doubt if there are elements of his service to the Lord which can humanly be seen as “success” they proceed from the working of the spirit of God that began in the home that God put together some 32 years ago. The first layer of the spiritual foundation was laid by his mother taking time every morning and evening to read the Bible stories. The second tier was his Adventist teachers throughout the years at East Valley Adventist School, California; San Gabriel Academy, California; Chisholm Trail Academy, Texas; Southwestern Adventist University, Texas; and Andrews University, Michigan. The third layer, a Godly wife in Brittany, who is the very best daughter-in-law a man could pray for. Finally, the experiences of ministry have produced growth and maturation in him! Praise God, He always knows what is best for each one of us and puts the spiritual house together stone by stone, layer by layer! So, as I watched him drive away I found myself praying to the God of heaven, thanking Him for allowing me to see His goodness and mercy in my son, and for granting me the assurance that indeed He still remains in the business of building houses for His Name’s sake! What a God we serve and praise! Let us never forget that the success of the church is born and bred in the lives and experiences of our children and young people.