Last night, I spoke with my dear friend, Paul, who was my closest friend in seminary and one of the most Godly men I have ever had the pleasure to know. Although we are very different in our backgrounds and personalities, we have become fast friends whose friendship has withstood the test the of time.
We were both older students when we entered seminary and met during a module course prior to each of us making the decision to attend school. We both felt that this particular school, Heritage Baptist Seminary, was the place that God had called us to attend and through that unlikely encounter, both of our lives have been undeniably changed for the better.
As older students, neither of us wanted our admission into seminary to negatively affect our time with our families and so we did our homework each evening after the rest of the family had gone to bed. That meant we started our homework after 11:00 pm and most nights we were on the phone at 1:30 or 2:30 a.m. going over Greek or Hebrew translations; or discussing some fine point of theology. Working together that late, night after night, cemented our friendship and to this day, each of us could call the other at any time of the day or night.
I don’t know, other than through the grace of God, how either of us got through school. The hours were brutal and the workload equally untenable. Yet, both Paul and I succeeded in earning our degrees and maintaining our friendship as well. While I continued in the corporate world, Paul went on to eventually become the President of the school that we attended – and remains in the position to this day.
But one task we always discussed was what we would focus on as men of God for the following year. You know how everyone is discussing a “word” for 2019 that will represent one thing that people will work on this year? Well, more than 15 years ago, Paul and I did the same thing. And we settled on what we called the “year of the family.” We both thought that we could improve our leadership skills, be better fathers and husbands; and better reflect the kingdom of God here on earth.
We held each other accountable and spoke with each other about issues we both faced in every facet of our lives. And we became better leaders, fathers, husbands and men of God. When the next year rolled around, we once again started to discuss topics to concentrate on for the new year. And since we hadn’t yet reached our goal for the previous year, we decided on another “year of the family.”
And guess what? Every year since then, including 2019, has been designated with the same progressive goal in mind – to be better husbands, fathers, leaders and brothers in Christ. But just to confirm our decision, we touched base last evening and renewed our mutual commitment for another year.
Our verse for this evening has to do with Noah and his family. If you remember, God was was fed up with the corruption and sin in the world; and He had decided to destroy the earth with water and start over. Only the family of Noah was spared. We are told by Moses, the author of Genesis, in Genesis 7:1, “The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.” I think that is what we all want for our families – to be recognized as righteous.
My encouragement tonight is that God wants us to be more like Him each year of our lives and to be as free from sin as possible as we grow in our faith and our relationship with Jesus. My prayer is that this year, each of us will consider joining the ranks of those who are devoting the year to creating stronger families – by being better husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, leaders and followers. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…