We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Tunnel Vision, Part 3

Recently I learned something about my relationship to my dad that rocked my world. Everyone who knows me knows that I love to work. Whether I’m gardening, reading, writing, landscaping, speaking, studying, digging, or chopping wood, I just enjoy being productive. But I wasn’t always this way.

As I shared in part 1 and part 2 of this Lamplighter Moment, my love for work was connected to my dad’s assignment to dig a tunnel under our patio. As I wrote earlier, breaking through to the other side was a monumental moment for me. But until recently, I didn’t understand that it wasn’t the actual breakthrough and accomplishment of a difficult task that birthed this spirit of motivation in me; it was something else. Something so powerful that I have passed it on to my children without even realizing it.

Before I tell you about this powerful catalyst–a catalyst that can turn even a lazy child into a hard worker–let me share briefly about my three adult children. Jonathan, my oldest, is a successful commercial broker in California and possesses the Hamby work ethic. My daughter Jennifer is the part time art director at Lamplighter, teaches art to children and adults, is the founder of Jache Art Studios, and has a pet portrait business. My youngest son, David, recently graduated from college, works as a manager for Apple, and refurbishes and resells classic motorcycles.

Each of my children possesses a phenomenal work ethic. I am very proud of this area of their lives and have spent a significant amount of time encouraging and preparing them in this. I passed down to my children what my dad passed down to me. You see, when I broke through that wall of dirt, the first thing I heard on the other side was my dad cheering for me. His cheering and favor upon me during that moment changed the course of my life. It wasn’t the breakthrough of the dirt; it was the breakthrough of my father’s pleasure and affirmation.

There isn’t a lot of recorded dialogue between Jesus and his Father, but what we do have speaks volumes. Listen in: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” God the Father speaks these words at his Son’s baptism and again speaks these same words at the Mount of Transfiguration. These words speak of identity (This is my . . . son), of loving affirmation (my beloved son), and pleasure (in whom I am well pleased). The second time the Father speaks he also adds “Hear ye him,” which speaks of calling.

When my dad cheered for me it sparked a motivation that has now been passed on to the next generation. His cheers represented the pleasure he enjoyed because of my triumph, and his words conveyed his loving affirmation. Though this was enough to spark a motivational chain of productive work that has reached three generations, it is not enough to prepare our children for life. Our children need their identity confirmed, our love expressed, our pleasure for them affirmed, and their future calling validated. If we give our children what the Father gave His Son, we’ll see children who will more aptly discern the will of God, be willing to endure adversity, yield to authority, and follow convictions with confidence as they walk humbly with their God.

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