In the Muppet movie there is a line: “Life is like a movie, write your own ending”. If this were true, and men like to believe that it is; have you ever stopped to think about the beginning, or have you moved too far past that point? You might say, “what does it matter right now, that ship already sailed”, besides, who wants to review all the mistakes and errors of days gone by. Everyone is sick of the publicized accusations about “what so-and-so did 10 years in the past”, what matters is what’s going in the present. In some regards, this might be the case and the true path.
Answer this question: “does your career, title, profession define who your are?” In our society, a man is defined by, his “Billfold, his Bedroom conquests and his Ball-field achievements according to Joe Ehrmann, chief character in the book “Season of Life”.
When you ask your son what he wants to be, what does he tell you? Is his answer something about “Doing” or something about “Being”? What do you desire for your son or daughter? Consider the idea of managing your heart and what that means in their lives? King David was a chief character in the Old Testament who considered such things. He committed an abysmal crime and tried to conceal it; he was confronted by Nathan the prophet, recognized his ugly self and sought repentance. He later writes these words “Create in me O God, a new heart, and renew in me a steadfast spirit.” David is someone referred to in scripture as a “Man after God’s own heart”. Why? Because he sought to manage is heart. When a boy is asked what he wants to be, he generally tells you something that he would like to do. As parents, we would like to see our kids have as good or better life than we had. If you are willing to seek as King David sought then you are more interested in “Being” and that, has the kind of shelf life, which makes the ending worth the cost of admission. Expecting perfection in your own heart, seeking it out, yearning for it, will leave the indelible mark of performance; and that performance will give your children hope and something to follow. With such a standard you might be able to raise a Solomon. Could there be an Absalom, certainly, but what are the chances of raising a Solomon without such a pursuit?
Facing an overwhelming enemy at Agincourt, King Henry prays for his men,
That the opposing numbers will not “pluck their hearts from them”
– John Eldridge, “Waking the Dead” –
About midway through the movie Tombstone, the epic battle of the O K Corral takes place. The cowardly, Ike Clanton, comes begging on his knees to Wyatt Earp, after he has run out of ammunition, for Wyatt not so shoot him. The famous Earp responds, “Ike, either get in the fight or get out”. We don’t often think about the courage it takes to be a father; but raising a son or a daughter, is a Fight! Too many men have run out of ammunition and become the Ike Clanton’s of our present day.
Do you remember the story of the Emmaus Road, how the disciples scurried back to Jerusalem and found the eleven hiding in the upper room; they were fearful. The returning disciples told their story of how He broke bread and talked and suddenly their eyes were opened and they recognized him, it was Jesus! They were gathering their courage in stories, first hand accounts of “being with him”, Jesus is alive! Suddenly, He appears in their midst! Jesus, being with them, was bringing them back into the fight! A father, who desires to have a heart that is the heart of God, must have courage.
This world will pluck that heart from a man, so subtly; to think you are not in a fight is utter foolishness. It takes courage to discipline your children, it takes courage to love your children, it takes courage to forgive and lead your children. Moses told his people to write God’s Word on their door posts so they would see it in their going out and their coming in; to talk with them about God’s word in the morning and in the night. Who can do this? A man of courage! 99% of the men and women in correctional facilities had a father like that of Ike Clanton.
King David may have stooped lower than even Ike did; but he sought forgiveness, he sought repentance, he sought the heart of God, he had courage. His son Solomon, finished the work that his father had had only hoped for, not because of “doing” but because of “being” all that his father had built into him, he had a better life, he wrote his own ending. David’s last words to his son included these “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show your self a man.” Ain’t it so?
“He gives strength to the weary. And to him who lacks might He increases power”