When you read articles like the following, where the author is amazed and encouraging us to find people in our local church that are physically older that can share God’s Wisdom, and how that’s more significant than all the parenting books we can read– and the guy doesn’t even mention the fact that this was the entire plan of the early church in Titus 2– then you know that we’ve strayed from the plan:
In contrast to the brisk air in the room, my time with Keith was warm. Though I’d read and preached those fatherhood passages numerous times, they were a fresh and welcome word from this seasoned saint. He weaved his own stories of successes, failures, and lessons learned from his own experience of fatherhood on the mission field, the times when ministry and work separated him from his family. He didn’t mince words either. I listened as Keith said, “In that season, I failed.” He didn’t dress his failures with excuses about his calling or the necessary sacrifices he needed to make for the cause of the gospel. He was honest. Painfully honest. I needed to hear that.
He shared specific memories from the early 90s when his kids, like me, were just toddlers running around. In those times, he prioritized his family, and the memories still linger some thirty years later. Even in the seasons he parented with relative success and fatherly love, he told me how he sometimes still provoked his children to anger and how apologizing to children points them to the gospel we want them to believe. He spoke of reorienting his life after he got swept away in the sea of busyness and ministry. His anchor wasn’t self-hatred or self-pity; it was the gospel. He sought the Lord’s grace and forgiveness, and then he walked in obedience to the Scriptures. I needed to hear that, too.
This encounter gave me a much deeper appreciation for Mr. Hamilton and the local church we attend. I’ve listened to countless sermons and podcasts on parenting. My digital and physical bookshelves house several of the best Christian parenting books ever published. I’ve lamented my fatherhood struggles to thirty-somethings with four kids who are in the middle of parenthood struggles with me. Yet learning from a man who has walked with the Lord longer than I’ve been alive moved me deeply.The Gold Mine in the Local Church
I read this finding my heart saying, “YES!!!” and then mourning over the fact that many look online in forums, video sermons, and books, rather than following God’s way of finding godly elders to mentor. May we take this as encouragement and challenge. Encouragement that God’s way works, and challenge to follow him.