Mine Creek Baptist Church
Daddy, this is the life…
By Pastor Chris Rathbone
Sometimes there are moments in our lives that God uses to speak to us. Many of these instances are to remind us of what the important things in life are all about.
About couple of years ago I had lifted a riding mower up to work on the blades and had strained my back. (We do these things and then our body tells us a couple of days later that we shouldn’t have.) I had a lot of reading to finish for a couple of classes at school so I placed some pillows on the bed so I could recline on the bed without my back bothering me so much. Probably an hour had passed when the door to the bedroom opened and in comes Reuben, about 4 years old at the time, and crawled up on the bed. We as parents have conditioned ourselves (especially with young children who tend to make a lot of noise) to tune out a lot of the noise around us so we can concentrate on what we are doing. This time my attention was pulled away from the book quite suddenly.
Reuben came in quietly. He never spoke a word to begin with. Sometimes the boys ask if I am finished or if I will wrestle or play with them. Most of the time unfortunately, my response is usually “Not right now, I have to do this or finish that.” Reuben proceeded to position some pillows next to me. He silently finished putting the pillows in place and reclined right next to me with his side touching mine. He placed his hands behind his head and said, “Daddy, this is the life. Spending time with my Daddy, this is the life.”
I could hardly stop myself from crying! What this made me realize was that he wanted to spend time with me. Even if it wasn’t wrestling, playing, or something else he would rather be doing, he just wanted to be with me. My mind flashed back suddenly to all the times I said “No”, or “I don’t have time”, or “I can’t right now”. Even if it wasn’t going to be on Reuben’s terms or his ideal situation, he just wanted to spend time with me.
This message is for Dads, especially those with young children. There are a lot of things we may “need” to get done, but those things are not as important as spending time with our children. Our kids will not remember how great we kept the lawn looking, but the times we played ball with them on it. They won’t remember that big stringer of fish we brought home, but the first fish they caught with Daddy standing next to them. They probably won’t even remember all the toys we bought them, but they will remember the time we took to get in the living room floor and play cars with them.
Paul wrote in Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. As I studied this verse I learned that the word “provoke” means to stimulate, especially to anger. The ideal is to influence in a negative way. This verse, according to Strong’s Concordance is the only time the word “discourage” is used in the New Testament (KJV). It means to be spiritless, disheartened, or dismayed. This simply means “Do not break their spirit.” How many times children come up to their Daddy with a high expectation only to get an answer that takes the smile from their face or causes them to walk away with their head hung down or even with tears in their eyes because Daddy doesn’t have time. I have seen this disappointment in the eyes of my own boys. My heart is convicted to think that when I don’t take time for them they are walking away with a broken spirit thinking that their Daddy doesn’t want to spend time with them.
We need to understand that new clothes, new video games, new toys, or just some expensive gift is not what our children need. What our children need is us. They need to know that they mean more to us than a job, a hobby, or our own selves. When they look at us, they should see a model of their Heavenly Father before them. Our kids need to know that they are loved unconditionally, cared for, protected and provided for by an earthly father who shows them that they are important to him. We have the responsibility of raising the next generation of parents. What they learn from us is what they will most likely pass on to their children and we can’t teach them if we aren’t with them! The most valuable gift we can share with our kids besides Christ is our time. They need to know that when their Daddy is with them he believes that “This is the life. Spending time with my children, this is the life!”