It is not uncommon for me to get to call and speak with people from various parts of the country in the claims office where I work. The other day I was speaking with someone from Minnesota and at the end of our call he asked me if I was from Tennessee. I let him know that I was from Texas and he said that was going to be his second guess. He said that he often visited Tennessee for business and he picked up on certain inflections that led him to guess I was from Tennessee. I explained that guess wasn’t a bad guess because my father was from Tennessee and I am sure that I picked up many vocal characteristics from him through the years before he passed.
Reflecting on that conversation had me thinking about the old expression, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” There are certain speech patterns, certain expressions and even certain habits and beliefs that I have picked up from my father. My father taught me the value of hard work. He worked at the same factory for over 30 years and rarely called in sick. He taught me the value of giving your best even if you were playing a game like basketball. “Never give up son. Play hard and if you don’t leave the game with at least 3 or 4 fouls, you may need to question your effort.” He was not a highly educated man but he was hardworking and loyal to our family despite some difficult times. When that individual on the phone asked me if I was from Tennessee, it reminded me that in some ways I am like my father. I miss him and look forward to seeing him again.
As Christians, there is an expectation that we will remind others of our heavenly Father. Simon Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:14-16
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
When I read that passage, there are a couple of thoughts that jump out at me. First, I often find myself still walking in ignorance. I slip back into my old ways and I know that my speech, my conduct, my actions and my reactions do NOT remind others of my heavenly Father. He has called me to be holy as He is holy. I know that I fall short. When I recognize that I have fallen short I seek to make amends and apologize to those that I have wronged. And I go to the Lord in prayer, confess and ask for strength to do better going forward. The second thing that comes to mind is that I know that whatever God asks me to do; He will help me to do. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If I just lean on Him, depend on Him, trust in Him, take my thoughts captive to Him, He will help me walk in a way and talk in a way that points others to Him. He will keep my feet on solid ground.
I am so thankful for His grace and His mercy. I pray that you may know His grace and mercy as well and that you may have a blessed and awesome Thanksgiving. Until next time, stay strong in the faith.