As a father of five children, I frequently draw upon my military experience to make sure everyone behaves properly and is ‘squared away’. It is not uncommon for me to bark out orders to various children, or to quell any dissension ‘in the ranks’ with a raised eyebrow that my Basic Training drill sergeant would be proud of. I love my children dearly, and am often playful and silly with them, but I expect to be obeyed quickly and completely, as long as they are under my authority. This gets tricky as they begin to pass out of my authority, but that is a subject for another day.
As the scripture indicates, a mature believer “… must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” (1 Timothy 3:4). I don’t think this passage refers only to elders, but for any Dad who desires to be a honored vessel in God’s household. Seeking to pattern myself after that standard, I like to have the things in my life under control, all nailed down and figured out.
Even little Sarah likes to keep all her plastic bears in line, properly color-coded.
Last week I was driving home from church, and I looked in the rear-view mirror of my car. I noticed a lonely, half-bowl of dry Peanut Butter Crunch ™ cereal, neglected by my youngest daughter between the car seats. Breakfasts on Sunday mornings are often taken on-the-fly — Kathy must’ve been driving more quickly than usual, and so Sarah’s breakfast was cut tragically short. I had an idea.
David often has good ideas.
“What luck!” I chortled. “Her loss is my gain,” I exulted. Boxes of Peanut Butter Crunch don’t last long in our household, even when it seems I buy them by the gross. I reached back between the seats and grabbed the bowl with my right hand, carefully maintaining my grip on the steering wheel with my left hand.
Suppose you were riding with me in the car, and you were the kind of annoying person who liked to place bets on everything. “I’ll bet a dollar that you can’t get that cereal without spilling it,” you might sneer. I would have offered ten-to-one, or maybe even fifty-to-one odds that I could successfully grab that bowl of Peanut Butter goodness, and bring it safely to my lap without spilling a single one. After all, I have a pretty steady hand, and am a skilled driver; there is no reason I would lose control over such a simple physical operation. Besides, I’m awfully fond of Peanut Butter Crunch.
David and Sarah are awfully fond of a good story.
As I brought the bowl over the passenger seat, the right front wheel of the car struck a small bump in the road, and what seemed like a family-sized box of cereal leapt out of the bowl and into the air. Pandemonium ensued, as two competing objectives fought for supremacy in my body:
- (a) the laudable objective of keeping the car on the road, or
- (b) the understandable effort to catch every piece of Peanut Butter Crunch before they rolled away into oblivion
Later, after the car was pulled from the ditch, I thought about this life-lesson: I am not in control of my life.
Hopefully, Sarah won’t hold a grudge about her lost Crunch cereal.
The car didn’t really end in the ditch, I’m just teasing about that. But it made me think about the many factors in my life that I work so hard to control, and which are really not controlled by me at all. My health, my job, my family, my relationships with people at church, even my relationsip with God — all of these things are outside my complete control. I may be able to influence them, but the sovereignty of God is supreme. I can trust and pray, and do my best to obey my King, but He decides when the bowl moves smoothly to the front seat, and when a crunchstorm fills the car.
Not my actual box of Captain Crunch.