Wednesday, August 21, 2013
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So this friend of mine pulled out his wallet and said, "Ron, can I show you my pride and joy?" And he did. There was a picture of a little dusting compound called Pride and a dish washing detergent called Joy. So, here were these two household items. I was fully expecting to see his children, but then, of course, I have strange friends.
Actually, most people do produce a picture of their children or their grandchildren when they say, "Would you like to see my pride and joy?" That's the way it should be. But if we were to judge our greatest source of joy from the time we spend on things, maybe we should put a picture of our desk and say, "Here's my pride and joy, or our house, or our car. Or, "Here's a picture of my paycheck" or my name being in print. Or, "Here's my sporting equipment for what I spend so much of my time doing." Maybe we need to stop and evaluate what really is our greatest fulfillment factor... or what should be.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Our Pride and Joy."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God. We're in the book of 3 John. Yes, Virginia, there is a third John after first and second John. And if you would like to read a book of the Bible pretty quickly, well you've got your choice right here. There are only about 13 or 14 verses in 3 John. So look it up! I'm reading to you from the fourth verse. It says this: "I have no greater joy..." John says. Okay, here's his pride and joy. Can you imagine him pulling out his wallet and saying, "Okay, I'm going to show you my pride and joy"? "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
We know that John here was talking about his spiritual children. But he was saying that the greatest fulfillment factor I have in my life is to know they're walking in the truth. Notice he didn't say it's that they know the truth or they're giving the right answers, or that they're quoting the truth. He says, "They're walking around in it. They're living it."
Now, if you're a parent as I am, you need to remember that God's value system puts the highest priority on the spiritual welfare of your children. How are they doing? Are they walking in the ways of Jesus? That's one way to find out how you're doing as a follower of Christ. Could it be that something else has replaced your children; pushed them to the edge a little bit? You didn't mean for it to happen. You're not even aware of it; it has been subtle. But somehow something has edged out your children as your main fulfillment factor. It could be your career. Maybe it's education or pursuing some goal in that area. Maybe it's just in improving your lifestyle. You're trying to do it for your kids, of course. But somehow it's taking so much time that your kids are crowded out. Maybe it's even church work that has left your kids virtual orphans a lot of the time.
Remember, somebody else could do that job at work – that job at church. It might be a very noble goal you're pursuing, but you are the only daddy. You are the only mommy they will ever really have. And they will reflect the amount of investment you have placed in them spiritually. No greater joy than them? Is it your greatest investment to see that you're doing all you can to see that your children walk in truth: Time to pray together, to apply the Bible together, to serve Christ together, to talk about Christian values, to talk about a Christian lifestyle together?
They are your greatest responsibility, and they're supposed to be your greatest fulfillment. And I hope your very greatest joy.