Teaching Our Boys - Part 2
Teaching Our Boys II
Respectful to Your Elders
"You shall rise up before the grayheaded, and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:32); "A gray head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31); "Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father" (Timothy 5:1).
- Showing respect to those who are older means looking at them in the eye when they are talking to you, and listening intently to what they are saying. Showing respect or honor means having a humble attitude, and refraining from a condescending attitude, which says, "Yea, yea, I already know that". Our young boys need to learn to show respect to their fathers and mothers, with their eyes, body language, attitude, and mouth. God isn’t impressed when young people become arrogant and dismiss the wisdom being given to them by the previous generation (Proverbs 30:11-13; 17 "The eye that mocks a father, and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it".
- If the church is going to be healthy in the future then our young boys need to learn from us the proper respect for the elders who shepherd the local congregation. They need to be taught and shown by our example that such men have met qualifications revealed by the Holy Spirit and thus are Holy Spirit appointed men (Acts 20:28). The very qualifications that they possess should teach us that we can learn from them (1 Timothy 3:1ff), and this is the type of person that I want looking out for my soul! God commands them to watch for the Christians under their care (1 Peter 5:1-3), and we are under direct command from God to love them, esteem them, respect them, and submit to their oversight (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17).
- Respect for the older generation also includes honoring longtime family friends, "Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend" (Proverbs 27:10). "In case the reader should think only of the friendship he hopes to receive, he is urged to give this kind of loyalty, especially to the old friend of the family who may easily be dropped in the search for new company, but whose staunchness would stand any test" (Proverbs, Kidner p. 45). Every generation is tempted to downplay the wisdom and importance of those who assisted their parents. "But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served Him" (1 Kings 12:8). We naively think that our best friends will be those who are our own age. "One should seek solid, meaningful relationships among one’s neighbors and family, but not focus on people who are fun but lack substance" (Proverbs, Garrett, p. 218).
"Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest’---And your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man" (Proverbs 6:6-11).
- Stewardship means borrowed things always go back better than when you got them. It means that our children learn to clean their room, because their room belongs to mom and dad. Our boys need to learn to take care of their clothes, toys, and not just their favorite things. Stewardship means taking good care of the gifts which others have given to you. It also involves wisely taking care of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); time (Ephesians 5:16 "making the most of your time, because the days are evil"); and abilities (Romans 12:6-8).
- Consider the lessons to be learned from the ant in the above verses: 1. Ants are diligent in their work in spite of the fact of having no boss to goad them on, and they prepare for winter in spite of not being told or supervised. The ant shames the lazy person, for they don’t need a supervisor, whereas some people wont’ work unless he or she is prodded, threatened, or constantly watched,"obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men" (Colossians 3:22). 2. Note that the sluggard doesn’t view himself as a lazy person, rather he justifies why he isn’t working. He says, "a little sleep, a little slumber". "He does not commit himself to a refusal, but deceives himself by the smallness of his surrenders. So, by inches and minutes, his opportunity slips away" (Kidner p. 42). There does come a time in life when you can’t recover from wasted opportunities. There will come a time when you can’t work as long or hard as you use to.
Initiative and Diligence
"The hand of the diligent makes rich" (Proverbs 10:4); "The hand of the diligent will rule" (12:24); "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (21:5); "Do you see a man skilled (diligent) in his work? He will stand before kings" (22:29); "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10); "and if she has devoted herself to every good work" (1 Timothy 5:10); "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be shamed" (2 Timothy 2:15); "Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence.." (2 Peter 1:5); "for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
- Our boys need to be told that no job is too small or too big. Always be looking for what needs to be done, don’t be some one who always has to be told what to do. Take things to their completion and never give up. Take the initiative, look for opportunities to serve, get your mind off yourself and on the needs of others.
- Hard work isn’t to be avoided, rather it has wonderful rewards, "The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much" (Ecclesiastes 5:12; Ephesians 6:5-8).
The Purpose for My Mouth
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29); "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt" (Colossians 4:6).
- Such edifying speech applies to parents, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, other Christians, and in an area that people sometimes forget, that is, with our physical brothers and sisters. Our young boys need to be told that God will hold them accountable for every word that they say, including those words which they said to their siblings (Matthew 12:36-37). If we allow our boys to verbally abuse their brothers or sisters, then they will grow up under the impression that you can say anything you want to say to someone who is family, including their spouse.
Protecting Their Heart
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. With all my heart I have sought Thee… Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:9-11); "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23); "Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).
- We need to teach our boys the usefulness of Scripture in resisting temptation. Remembering what God has said, remembering how much God loves us, remembering that sin never leads to happiness, and remembering the true cost of yielding, is a very powerful incentive against temptation. Mere human reasons and mere earthly consequences are not enough to keep people from temptation.
- Keeping your heart pure involves much more than keeping it free from lust. It also means keeping our hearts free from anger, bitterness, resentment, arrogance, and callousness (Ephesians 4:18-19 "because of the hardness of their heart, and they, having become callous"). Our boys will face so many influences in our world that will try to make their consciences insensitive to the word of God. People will try to convince them that sin isn’t a big deal, that they can stray from the biblical teachings and yet God will still accept them, they really don’t have to be the type of husband mentioned in the Scriptures, that one can place many things ahead of God and His kingdom, and a host of other spiritual compromises.
- We need to do what we can to help our boys retain sensitive hearts, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15); "but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
- We will do our boys a big favor if we can help develop in them a whole-hearted trust in God, like that of a little child (Matthew 18:3-4). This means that they are convinced that God is always right (Romans 3:4); it is never our place to question or argue with something God has said or done (Job 38:1-4). We believe everything that the Bible says with reservation (Genesis 18:12-14). In fact, Paul makes the point that many people will reject the biblical message, not because it is too complicated, but rather because it is so simple and people simply can’t accept an absolute and plain explanation for things (Romans 1:18-22; 1 Corinthians 1:23ff).
It is so easy to murmur and grumble when something is happening that we don’t like (1 Corinthians 10:10). The tendency in the world, and this even invades the church, is to withdraw when unhappy or upset and find people who are miserable like ourselves and grumble. It is so easy for such a gripe session to become a forum for gossip, misinformation, false doctrine, the development of unbelieving attitudes and the like. Let us teach our boys how to handle disagreements in a godly manner. In addition, let us teach our boys how to confront people when they see someone sin or teach what is sinful (Matthew 18:15-17; James 5:19-20). They also need to have the character to apologize if they are in the wrong (Matthew 5:23-25).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church Of Christ/ (503) 644-9017