Use your Talents
Dear Amy, Randy, and Danny,
Well, I’m finally starting what I’ve been thinking of doing for months! I asked you all if you would like for me to do this, and you said yes, so here I go. By the way, I’m in the habit of naming your names in order of age, but I could change the order up every week.
I’m calling it “Thoughts from Dad” since I’m writing it, but much of what I think is the same as what Mommy thinks. She is part of my inspiration and has many of the ideas for what I write. I hope what I write will be words of wisdom, but I don’t claim to have any original wisdom. I give the credit for any wisdom I have to God and the countless people who have helped to mold and enlighten me. I am so deeply thankful that those of us called and transformed by God have the most important wisdom by far — “the wisdom that is from above.” (James 3:17 James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
American King James Version×)
I want to start by saying how pleased and proud Mommy and I are of you three. We feel so immensely blessed to have had 3 outstanding children who are unusually healthy, smart, good-looking, talented, and athletic! We are so pleased that you have grown and developed with such balanced, outgoing, and pleasant personalities! And we’re the most pleased that you have learned and held on to excellent character and standards of behavior! (That’s especially remarkable in this society where standards are going down, and we see so many people making terrible and tragic mistakes with their lives.) You three have so much going for you!
The first thing to remember is to give God the credit and continually thank Him. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17 James 1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.
American King James Version×). God has indeed been very merciful and generous with us!
The other point to remember is that God expects us to be good stewards with what He has given us — to use our gifts and abilities to the utmost for His service and glory. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48 Luke 12:48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
American King James Version×).
In a way, the greatest gift God has given us is spiritual understanding. “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear” (Matthew 13:16 Matthew 13:16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
American King James Version×). Many scriptures show that God holds us accountable for what we know, such as James 4:17 James 4:17Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
American King James Version×- Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” God wants us to use that knowledge to avoid the sins of commission and the sins of omission, and to do much good.
Think of yourselves as instruments in God’s hands, and pray that God will use you and your knowledge and talents to be successful in several ways — success in serving those around you, your present and future families, mankind in general, the Church, and God. You’re off to a good start! “A wise son (or daughter) makes a glad father (or mother)” Proverbs 10:1 Proverbs 10:1The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
American King James Version×). Mommy and I are very glad parents!
Honor your parents
Dear Amy, Randy, and Danny,
I just want to say amen to what Mommy has been saying about not neglecting to regularly communicate with Grandma. I count as one of my greatest blessings in life not only that my parents lived a long time but also that all four of my grandparents lived to old age. I had a close relationship with my parents and was very close to BoBo and Daddy Jim and fairly close to Granddaddy and Grandmother Hooser. I’m also thankful that we had a large extended family. I had close relationships with quite a few uncles, aunts, and cousins on both sides.
However, as time goes along I regret more and more not having spent more time and not having communicated more with my extended family, especially my grandparents. I could easily have spent more time with BoBo and Daddy Jim all the time I was going to Southern Methodist University (SMU). They lived only about one mile from the SMU campus, at 3333 Greenbriar Dr., and I always did enjoy visiting them. It also gave me a nice, warm, secure feeling knowing they were so close. When my parents came to visit, we could all meet at BoBo and Daddy Jim’s house.
In spite of this close proximity, I probably only averaged going to see them once every other month. Sure, I was busy with my studies, but I was also very busy with my social life from which I could have easily sacrificed a little more time. Half the time I was co-oping at Lone Star, but I went to Dallas a lot on weekends for dates and social activities. Rarely on those weekends would I go by to see my grandparents.
Now I regret not visiting them more for two reasons. As time goes along, I see more and more how important it is to know your roots and your family history. It gives one a sense of identity and connectedness. It helps me to know who I am and why I am the way I am. So often I wish I could ask my grandparents and other relatives questions about their lives. The other reason is that I see more clearly now how lonely elderly people are and how bored they get. I dearly wish I had not been so selfish and self-centered and had made more of an effort to brighten the lives of my grandparents.
What I have said certainly applies to parents as well as grandparents. There were also many times when I went too long before calling, writing, or going to see my parents. I certainly regret that. We grow up expecting parents to be deeply concerned for the welfare of their children. Sometimes the maturity to be deeply concerned about one’s parents comes rather late in life.
Each of the 10 Commandments is a brief summary of a whole set of God’s laws and principles. The fifth teaches us more than just honoring parents. By extension, it teaches us to honor our extended family, all authority figures in our lives, and all people (1 Peter 2:17 1 Peter 2:17Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
American King James Version×).
Overlook the mistakes of others
Dear Amy, Randy, and Danny,
A fault that all of us in our family have had is calling attention to the mistakes and faults of other family members. I am terribly sorry for having set a wrong example in this many times and for being a bad influence. We’ve often played up others’ mistakes rather than playing them down. None of us like it when someone does this to us. It is unmerciful, unkind, self righteous, and judgmental. Instead of being fault-finding, let’s be fault-forgetting. Instead of being critical, let’s be complimentary and encouraging. Instead of being picky, let’s be peacemakers. Instead of being hard-to-please, let’s be easy to please. Instead of being negative, let’s be positive, shining the spotlight on virtues instead of vices. Instead of making mountains out of molehills, let’s make molehills of mountains. Instead of exaggerating someone’s fault, let’s minimize his or her fault. Let’s forgive and forget.
The Bible makes the point many times. (The following are from the NKJV, unless otherwise noted.) “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and it is to his glory to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11 Proverbs 19:11The discretion of a man defers his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
American King James Version×). “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult” (Proverbs 12:16 Proverbs 12:16A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covers shame.
American King James Version×NIV).
The Bible occasionally speaks of “covering” sins and mistakes, and it is clear that there are two ways to do that. One is by forgiving the offense, and the other is by pretending not to notice, especially by not calling the attention of others to it. The mistake is forgiven, buried, out of sight, and forgotten. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12 Proverbs 10:12Hatred stirs up strifes: but love covers all sins.
American King James Version×). The Living Bible puts it this way, “Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.”
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9 Proverbs 17:9He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates very friends.
American King James Version×NIV). The Living Bible puts a little different slant on that verse, “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends.”
The opposite extreme of being an accuser and a gossip or talebearer is horrible and condemned in many places in the Bible.
The quality of pretending not to notice the mistake of another is a mark of a true gentleman or lady. Sometimes it is OK to speak of another’s mistake or fault in a positive, light-hearted way where you are laughing with each other rather than at the other. Just make sure that what you say is not hurting the other person. If you feel there is a need to correct the other person, do it in a loving, kind, tactful, constructive, and private way.
It is so tempting to lift ourselves up by putting someone else down. It is human nature to be intolerant, critical, and resentful. To do the opposite demonstrates Godly love. “Love is patient, love is kind… it is not rude… it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… It always protects…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
American King James Version×). The Living Bible words verse 5 thus: “Love… is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.”