The Things Daddy Taught Me

Posted by on Sep 16, 2018 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Marvin B Jones 1932-2018

I wrote this several years ago for my blog, then it was published in my book All I Have Needed-A Legacy for Life. When I showed it to Daddy he shook his head and said, “I’m not sure I know that guy.” That was Daddy. Humble.

On August 30th I stood at his bedside in hospice with my husband, my sister, and niece as he took his last breath and just like that he was with Jesus.

We are so thankful his suffering is over and that he is with Jesus. WOW! Daddy is with Jesus! Incredible!!!!

But still, how do we live in this world without him? The same way he taught us. . . by the principles in God’s word. I trust this is an encouragement to you. All I can say is I have been blessed “exceeding abundantly above all that I could have asked or thought.” Thank you Jesus for my Daddy. Help me follow his example by keeping my eyes focused on YOU.

 

Three Things My Dad Taught Me

I’ve heard that a girl gets her view of God from her father. For some of us that’s not a good thing. For others, like me it turns out to be a wonderful gift. My daddy has been the most influential person in my life. Without him I wouldn’t be. Without his love I wouldn’t fully understand the love of God. Without the discipline he meted out I wouldn’t know the security of limits or understand the importance of a disciplined life. Almost everything he taught me fits into one of three categories.

The first thing he taught me was decision making. To live a successful life we must determine right from wrong, the best from the not-so-good.  By example my dad taught me a simple rule of thumb. Every decision in life should be made based on the absolute principles found in God’s Word, the Bible. That may sound simplistic but it isn’t. Or maybe it is.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” covers a lot of decisions about how to act toward others (more on that later). Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. . . that gives the skinny on what to do if someone hurts you.  “…Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” That one covers all of the bad things we can do to our bodies. What about money decisions? It’s there. There are principles for marriage, for work ethics, for raising children, dealing with employees and employers, friends, enemies—it’s all there. Over and over my dad would point out what was wrong with a situation, why—using the Bible principle—and what would be a better approach. He didn’t focus on a list of do’s and don’ts, just Bible principles.

Oh sure, there are definite do’s and don’ts in the Bible but often there are grey areas, things that aren’t so clearly spelled out. My dad taught us—from Bible principles, of course—a few questions you can ask yourself when in a quandary.  First, will it glorify God? If the answer is no, don’t do it. This is found in I Corinthians 10:31, “whether ye eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. . . Secondly, can I do this thing and still be a good example to others, or will I be a stumbling block? Paul addressed this in I Corinthians 8:9, 12. Maybe it’s not specifically banned in the Bible but someone will take offense. Or, they may follow your example, and it causes them harm.  The third area is more personal. Will it edify me, or build me up? Does this activity make me a better friend, daughter, wife, sister? Does it help me grow or will it drag me down? This is addressed in I Corinthians 10:23. So, armed with the specific Biblical principles and these three questions my dad sent me out into the world.

The second category of truths learned from my Dad’s life is how to treat other people. He knows what he believes, why he believes it, and he does his best to live it. This gives him a consistent walk which is demonstrated through the fruits of the spirit. If you think about it, most of those have something to do with how we relate to God and how we treat other people. Galations says, “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. . .” That’s a pretty impressive list. My dad is a friend and encourager. He loves to help people who need a hand up. He believes that we should see the potential in everyone and let God tell them if they are in the wrong spot. He is also forgiving. I’ve watched him deal with people who hurt him and it is an awesome lesson in forgiveness and self-control. He just lets it go. And beyond that, when the hurtful person has something bad happen guess who’s the first on the scene. Yep, that’s my dad. He chooses to treat them with respect. He chooses not to say bad things about them. He rarely, if ever says something negative about someone. If he does, it’s worth paying attention to and is given as a warning rather than a condemnation. Through my dad’s daily example I have learned how to love the unlovable, how to be patient with others and myself, the meaning of true gentleness, the difference between meekness and weakness, and self-control.  The overriding Bible principle for this dealing with others is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The actual verse says, “as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them, likewise.” That’s one principle my dad bases his life on. It’s a powerful one.

 

Besides learning how to make decisions and how to treat others my dad taught me how to serve God. My dad has served as the pastor of several small churches. He started three churches and has ministered to people in four different states. Many “preacher’s kids” have less than positive things to say about growing up in a pastor’s home. They say their dad was too strict, there was never any money, the ministry took him away from his family, and they were always being watched. Not me. It was a joy to grow up in a Pastor’s house. My dad loved the ministry. It was the life God gave him and he loved it. He still does. He enjoyed working with people, even the difficult ones. One day when I came home from work as a nurse and complained about a patient’s difficult family member my dad said, “Miriam, as long as you are working with people, there are always going to be a few strange ones in your life. Don’t let them ruin it for you.” He chose to love them but kept his focus on God and the task God had for him. He made being a pastor look like fun, serving God was an adventure, a privilege even. We were the blessed ones. He didn’t complain about the long hours, the financial difficulty, the uncertainty of the future, the pitiful retirement benefits. He knew that he was where God wanted him and that was all he needed to know. God would provide even if it meant Daddy worked a second job.  He empowered us to believe that we could be anything God wanted us to be. There are no limits when you are in the will of God. There is no greater satisfaction in life than to be what God wants you to be.

I learned what it means to have a servant’s heart. When I was a teenager, my dad had us clean the church each week. He explained the principle—if you are faithful in this menial job then God will bless you with a less menial job. Years later, when it was my week to clean the church, I asked dad about that. “Why am I still cleaning the church?” I asked, tongue in cheek. He looked at me, gave me that sly grin and said, “I didn’t say you wouldn’t still have to clean the church, I just said He would give you other jobs too.” Humph! He had me there. My dad has never been above doing whatever needs done, even if it’s cleaning toilets.

Another thing he taught me was how to plug along, even when you don’t see the results. A pastor has a tough job. There may be months, even years when the growth in the church is slow, stops, even goes backwards. Often progress is measured more in the lives that are changed, the growth in the hearts of people rather than in the numbers of people attending. From this I learned that quality is definitely more important than quantity. The bottom line is this, if you are in the will of God then all you are responsible to do is be faithful. God will take care of the results. This may be the most valuable lesson I ever learned from my dad, faithfulness.

Wow, you may say. Your dad must have spent a lot of time explaining and talking to you. He must be a very special person. I can’t be like that, I’m not that good. Of course, I think he is wonderful and the best Dad in the whole world. I know he spent time explaining these things to us. The truth is that most of the lessons I learned from my Dad I learned from watching him. You see, the lessons he taught most effectively were the ones he lived. When someone consistently demonstrates the truth, it’s a powerful thing; much more powerful than words.