This year’s Mother’s and Father’s Day season brought to mind some wisdom my folks shared with me years ago. These morsels of sound reason have helped me navigate the diverse oceans and streams I’ve crossed over the years.
I do realize that not everyone has great parents, but mine were pretty solid. So, please let me share some of the gold I received from Bob & Reka Boersma, two lovebirds who shared an incredible adventure in life with four kids and a huge assortment of farm animals.
Lesson #1 - Wait Two Weeks
Yep, that’s it. But does it ever work! One day while driving to school at Long Beach State I saw a cool British sports car for sale alongside Pacific Coast Highway. I just had to have it. So, I called Dad back in Iowa and suggested he might just loan me the cash to purchase it. His counsel: “Wait two weeks.”
Even though I knew those words were coming, my heart sank. You see, he had learned at an early age that impulsiveness in business matters led to ruin. And as a good Presbyterian elder, he also knew the value of prayer. So, I reluctantly thanked him for his advice, and began to wait … and pray.
A funny thing happened around five days later. I stopped praying for the car. I didn’t even want the car anymore. The wave of lust for something cooler than my VW bug had passed. Dad’s maxim worked, and kept me from getting into debt for my education and my transportation. I drove that VW for 31 years before selling it to a dear colleague here at Talbot. He’s still driving it, and I’ve been enjoying my Dodge Dakota for the last 16 years, a handsome thing I bought new for cash, after having waited (and prayed) about the purchase for about six months. The older I get, the longer I seem to wait.
Proverbs 21:5 says it best – “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty”. In this fast-paced world, I would exhort us all to pull back and give some things a bit more time. Couldn’t hurt. Might just lead to true riches.
Lesson #2 – Apply Diligence in All You Do
We worked hard on the farm. And with that, both Mom and Dad had this saying: “Do it right the first time.” Carpenters have a similar maxim: “Measure twice, cut once.” Excellence was the watchword in everything my parents did. Not perfection – just excellence. Whether preparing a meal for the family or constructing a building for the farming business, my parents gave everything they did their best effort.
I also learned how to stick with something when the going got tough (like harvesting crops in 100 degree heat and 90% humidity – welcome to the Midwest in July). Like most young men, I had the attention span of a gnat, and the endurance to match. But dad would have none of it. We worked until the sun went down, we turned on the lights, and we worked some more until the job was done. Great preparation for life in service to others, I think.
Proverbs 10:4, 5 – “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.” It seems to me that diligence and hard work is fitting for those who have been given so much through the blessed work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Next time I’ll share some more of the life lessons I picked up from Mom and Dad. If you have a parent or parents remaining in this life, be sure to pray for them. Thank God for them, regardless of your perception of their parenting skills. Honor them by following their good advice, and be gracious to them by forgiving their failures.
Maybe I’ll wait two weeks before posting again.