Growing up on a small southern Tennessee farm, we had a few ponds to keep us busy from time to time. We would fish or skip rocks, we swam in them when it was warm and walked on them when they were frozen. We even had a dog that would jump in them on command. However, even as a child, we always noticed that ponds were never as clean and inviting as the lake or a fresh-flowing river. Ponds are different than lakes, and lakes are different than rivers. Lakes are much bigger, they hold enormous amounts of water, and usually there is some slight undetectable current. Rivers are much different. They are constantly- moving fresh water, and an old Indian proverb says that a man never steps into the same river twice. Ponds, however, hold everything within their banks. Unless something stirs it up once in a while, it will become stagnant.
As fathers, we have the ability to be like one of these bodies of water. We can spend a little time with our children once in a while like a lake, mixing our families into the enormous amount of other responsibilities we have like a slow current. We can choose to never input our time or attention into our children’s lives and watch the relationship become stagnant like a pond, or we can pour into them like a river, always keeping the relationship fresh. I like to compare these bodies of water to kings - kings rule, good kings model and lead, and great kings make a difference.
There’s a king-sized command for great kings to follow in the book of Proverbs and it’s found, of all places, in the chapter about women. Proverbs 31 is not all about a virtuous woman; the first nine verses are for the men and not just for men but for kings. King Lemuel’s mother is challenging him in these verses to not only look kingly but to also behave and think like a king. She warns him of the dangers the carnal desires can inflict. In verse 3, she instructs him to choose the right mate. This is proper teaching for both men and women alike in verse 3; the right mate will empower you, the wrong one will destroy.
In today’s market, one could also include pornography, which can also ruin a king’s marriage as well as his family. The narrative then continues as we read further to include drinking. The king’s mother tells him that these two habits can destroy a person and that they are not for kings. Verse 5 gives very clear instruction as to the dangers of alcohol. She says that it impairs and clouds judgement, and this type of behavior is not for kings.
Kings rule, good kings model and lead, and great kings make a difference. Every child thinks of his father as a king, but how do we see ourselves? It’s increasingly more difficult to elevate our kingship to greatness in our own eyes when we’re pulling it down with all the wrong things. I sat at a table with a single parent and two young children recently. My heart broke for the children when the first thing they told me was how their other parent had dropped off toys in the middle of the night for them. They were too young to know that the parent was intoxicated when they stopped by. Alcohol and drugs had destroyed the relationship these kids could have with their estranged parent.
Relationships, like ponds become stagnant when there is no fresh water flowing in or out. Great kings make a difference.
Join us this Sunday, at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m., on the square in Sparta. We are Christpoint Church, and we’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.