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Where Intelligence Is Irrelevant

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your good pleasure.”  
Luke 10:21

I worshiped at an inner city, self-described “diverse, multi-ethnic church” the other week. I loved every second of it- of the different accents and rhythms and styles and shades.  Which bodes well, since worship times will get even more diverse.

The heavenly worship set will come from a multitude from every tribe, tongue and nation. Every. So bring on diversity.

Including the little girl with Down Syndrome who faced straight right, but sang front center in the children’s choir.

Big On Diversity

We’re big on diversity as we ought to be. But it’s even bigger to God.

I mean, he wants- he will have– a cross section to compose his Son’s Bride, the church. Male and female, Greek and Jew, slave and free- there is no difference. All are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). Gender, religious affiliation, and employment status are no barriers to God. His call goes out.

But variety in the God’s Kingdom doesn’t end with those. Church diversity goes beyond sex, age and skin color. For now, at least. it extends even to IQ.

To the end that God has actually hidden his glory from some high IQ’d and worldly wise and revealed it to children. To babes. The Greek in Luke 10:21 is nēpios which, I read, means nursing babies.

Dependent, helpless babies. Little children.

IQ Won’t Bring You To God

This means that, at least when it comes to getting into the Kingdom of God, intelligence is overrated.

Rather than being a prerequisite to knowing God, high IQ might even be a barrier, or  handicap, in coming to Christ. Luke 10:21 (and Matthew 11:25-26 and 1 Cor. 1:26-31) means that no education, worldly wisdom or IQ can bring us to God.

And this truth pleased Jesus the Son because this pleased God the Father. It means that all the glory for our salvation goes to God.  Not a smidge goes to our intelligence. Nobody gets into the kingdom of heaven by reasoning and deducting and inferring his way in.

Little children know they can’t make it alone. Everybody in God’s family knows that they’re needy and helpless.

It’s like those lines from Rock of Ages,

Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace…

And Jesus rejoiced in this and said, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your good pleasure.

No Matter If You’re Not Clever

Maybe this verse grabbed me so hard last week because I’ve been part of a few conversations lately about wits. About friends who feel pressure to keep up the smart front and match wits with the wise the feeling of inferiority that comes when we compare and feel not as smart.

But the most important wisdom in the world- the only saving knowledge in the wide world- does not come with being clever.

In a sermon on Luke 10:21, C.H. Spurgeon explains how this works:

One poor soul says, “I am not clever. I cannot be saved.” Why not? Why not, when God has chosen the foolish things of this world? I often hear a person say, “But I have not head enough for these things.” You do not need a head so much as you need a heart, for the grace of God works on the heart, first, and on the head, afterwards…If you love Christ and trust in Him, you have all the head that you need for eternal life.

“O,” says one, “but I am a person of such small capacity!” Never mind. “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” whether they are of large capacity or small capacity. Have you a teachable spirit? Are you willing to believe what the Holy Spirit reveals? To sit at Jesus’ feet and learn of Him? Are you like the babe that…takes, unquestioningly, the nourishment she gives? If that is so, you are of the kind that God has chosen! Come at once to Him.

So what causes Jesus to rejoice greatly? At least in part, it was knowing that when it comes to knowing God, intelligence is irrelevant.

It was pleasing to you, Father, to hide these things from the wise. 

Intelligence Is Irrelevant

This doesn’t mean that thinking clearly and being wise is not important. It is. We are to love the Lord with all our minds. But, as John MacArthur explains,

It’s just that those on their own can’t get there.  A man may be as wise as Solomon. That’s not going to get him to God.  He may be as intelligent as Einstein. That’s not going to get him to God.  Intelligence is neither a way nor a barrier, it’s irrelevant.  Human wisdom is not a way or a barrier, it’s irrelevant.

You can’t know me, unless I reveal something of myself to you and you can’t know God unless he reveals himself to you (Luke 10:22). And thankfully,  he doesn’t reveal himself to us on the basis of our IQ. By wisdom, Paul wrote, the world knew not God.

The natural man does not understand the things of God. God has to open our eyes. He has to reveal himself. And we have to become like children to see. We don’t need high ACT scores or college degrees.

God has favor on those who are broken and contrite and tremble at his word. Revealing himself to these is his good pleasure.

In the Wisdom of God

I’m back in my little church now. And if you measure by variety in accents and skin tones, we’re not terribly diverse. But in other ways, we are.

A little sister in Christ who happens to have autism, worships in the aisle, criss-cross applesauce style. An older brother who loves to tell big-grinned one-liners about Smiles that go on for miles and Normal is just a setting on your dryer listens to the sermon. A middle-aged sister who has a hard time remembering things belts it out with her hands held high.

Here we all are, weak and foolish, not many of noble birth (1 Cor. 1: 26-31), high school drop-outs and college grads. I wouldn’t doubt the IQ spread here would span from 50-150, from profoundly behind to MENSA qualified.

And we’re all one in Christ. We’re united because it pleased God to reveal His Son to us and save us. IQ is irrelevant here.

And that is all wisdom.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe…God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21, 28-29
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Washington Modest, Washington Wise

George Washington was born on January 22, 1732.  He was God’s gift, the perfect fit- modest and wise- to govern our infant, rebel nation.

These 10 Washington quotes remind me why.

1. Nothing is a greater stranger to my breast, or a sin that my soul more abhors, than that black and detestable one, ingratitude.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Governor Dinwiddie, May 29, 1754

2. It is with pleasure I receive reproof, when reproof is due, because no person can be readier to accuse me, than I am to acknowledge an error, when I am guilty of one; nor more desirous of atoning for a crime, when I am sensible of having committed it.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Governor Dinwiddie, Aug. 27, 1757

3. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is the best policy.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address to the People of the United States

4.While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Benedict Arnold, Sep. 14, 1775

5. The determinations of Providence are always wise, often inscrutable; and, though its decrees appear to bear hard upon us at times, is nevertheless meant for gracious purposes.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Bryan Fairfax, Mar. 1, 1778

6. Do not conceive that fine clothes make fine men any more than fine feathers make fine birds.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Bushrod Washington, Jan. 15, 1783

7. To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to James Welch, Apr. 7, 1799

8. There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, First Inaugural Address, Apr. 30, 1789

9. The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, First Inaugural Address, Apr. 30, 1789

10. The views of men can only be known, or guessed at, by their words or actions.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Patrick Henry, Jan. 15, 1799

Those who knew Washington best never doubted his sincere Christian faith.  His mottos were, “Deeds, not Words”; and, “For God and my Country.”

Washington’s wisdom was uncommon. He knew what was in the heart of a man. George Washington also knew that, though at times inscrutable and painful, the purposes of Providence are gracious.

But President George Washington was also a modest man.  Like the best of leaders, his humility was great.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 13:7

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Abounding, Like Bolt

It’s not that much for someone who is poor and in a low condition to have his heart kept low, but for someone to have his heart low when his condition is high is much more difficult.

Jeremiah Burroughs, Contentment, Prosperity, and God’s Glory

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:11-12 

Do you know how to abound? Did you watch the Olympics last night? Have you learned the secret to being content in plenty and fullness, not only in your need? Did you see Bolt bow the knee?

For all the mockery and misuse of #blessed, I think it’s a perfect expression of that noble, humble spirit. Blessed stands opposed to entitled. Blessed expresses gratitude. Blessed is against “I earned this.” Blessed testifies to God’s grace. #blessed.

Bolt included #blessed in his tweet after his three-peat in the 100m dash last night. I’m one of his peeps now. Here it is.

Thanks for all the support my peeps #blessed #TeamBolt #TeamJamaica #Rio2016

I know, I know, I know. There’s danger in lauding any earthly hero. Don’t put your trust in man. All men -even the fastest- are wildflowers and mist and grass. Every one will fade and fail. I know this.

But the Word also says, Blessed is the man who fears the LordAnd Paul urged that whatever good his peeps had seen and heard and learned from him- these put into practice

Usain’s not perfect. Google him and you might find a few foul words and spot him dancing with some risque Samba dancers at his Rio press conference last week. We all stumble in many ways.

But Usain St. Leo Bolt has got some big things right.

Humble Good Humor

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.  

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Humility, you ask, incredulous? Haven’t you seen Usain’s breast-thumping, #1 boasts, you askAre you out of your up-too-late-watching-beach-volleyball-sleep-deprived mind?

Yes. Humility. And, no. At least I don’t think so it’s a hazy, sleep depraved mind.

Because we know this. That, Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less. And when any Olympic living-legend offers a prayer with a sign of the cross in front of a thousand cameras and then bows the knee within a minute of winning a race- I see humility.

Bolt is a century removed and a sea away from the Christian’s epic Olympic hero, Eric Liddell. I admit that Bolt’s lightening trajectory doesn’t look like it’ll lead to a mission field like Liddell’s. But then, one never knows.

Bolt does share more than fast feet with our Chariots of Fire hero. I was going to tie them together with that famous, God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure, quote. It fits them both. But it turns out that “quote” was written by Colin Welland as part of the Chariots of Fire script.

Liddell was known, Bolt is known, for their enthusiasm and good humor. And for this “Girl with the etched furrowed brow,” who takes herself far too seriously far too often, Bolt’s light-hearted, unpretentious exuberance is a breath of fresh air. (Yes, unpretentious. It means trying to impress others with greater talent than one actually possesses. Bolt is the world’s fastest man.)

Proud people tend to be too puffed-up with themselves to want to bless others with their levity and laughter. I dare you to watch Usain and not crack a smile. Eric Liddell had that same light heart. His friends and classmates recalled that,

No adulation, no fame, no flattery can ever affect this youth…He has got that great redeeming gift, the gift of humour. 

His infectious enthusiasm endeared him to the sporting public, and for the next four years he packed the terracing at every sports meeting he attended.

He had a characteristic, humorous resistance to bullying or posing masters, giving his answers stern and satirical emphasis ,’46 Sir’ and then following up with a disarming smile, whenever and wherever the atmosphere permitted it.

For all- or rather in all- Usain’s post-race antics (he hugged a huge stuffed animal on the track after the race last night), for all his smiles as he speeds on by, and his unpuffed-with-self poses that he freely gives “his peeps,” Usain Bolt displays a certain humility.

Honoring God

His pleasure is not in the strength of horse or his delight in the legs of a man, but the Lord delights in those who fear him and put their hope in his unfailing love. 

Psalm 147:10-11

God’s pleasure is (still) not in the (under 10 second for 100m ultra-fast) legs of a man. He delights in those who fear him.

A manifestation of fearing God is taking time to honor him. Usain doggedly honors God. Sure, it’s in his characteristically loose, Jamaican way. Critics might call Bolt’s God honoring ways, merely superstitious– signing the cross and sending prayers to heaven as the soles of his lightening-fast feet press hard on his starting blocks.

True. Only God knows our hearts.

But his #blessed tweets aren’t required by the Olympic Committee. In fact, they’re probably not preferred. They’d probably rather Bolt not be so visible about his faith in the Holy Trinity. Bolt’s going against the flow when he honors God this way.

If ever they did, “Christian” shout-outs do not earn brownie points in the wide world of sports anymore.  His tweets and signs and prayers may not be so bold as Eric Liddell refusing to race on a Sunday. But still. They look like signs of man who behind his big talk and bigger grins fears his God.

A prosperous state, wrote Jeremiah Burroughs, mightily endangers the grace of humility. He explains, that those who have learned to Paul’s secret show their noble, humble spirits when they are

[A]s careful to return proportionate respects to God as they are to receive any mercy from Him. Their nobility is further sown in this: they are thankful. A noble heart is a thankful heart that loves to acknowledge whenever it has received any mercy.

Did you see Bolt bow his knee and give thanks to God when his 100m race was done? After winning the 200m in the last Olympics, he tweeted: “I want to thank God for everything he has done for me. Nothing would be possible without him.” No one made him do that. A strong humble man knows who gives him strength.

A fast humble man knows -and fears- the One who gives him speed.

Sitting Loose

Sit loose to this world’s joy-the time is short. 

Robert Murray M’Cheyne 

Sit loose. That’s a motto for The Girl With The Furrowed Brow. It’s a shorter version of Paul’s Philippians 4 secret. Learn to be content, whatever situation you’re in. Because in Christ all things are yours, and you can do all things

Usain seems to take even his huge success lightly. Jason Gay in today’s Wall Street Journal wrote,

The most recognizable man at the Olympics is staying in the Olympic Village, for goodness’ sake, posing for selfies with mortals who will never make it out of a preliminary heat, pulling his own luggage, turning the same wobbly doorknobs like everybody else. He’s OK with that. He’s into it. 

And sitting loose means sharing the glory. As “the Cosmic Center” of these Olympic games, Bolt he knows that the really great go low. They’re able share others’ success and joy. Jason Gay describes it.

One of the finer moments Sunday night occurred when Bolt was doing post-race interviews near the track, and he noticed the South African runner Wayde van Niekirk, who earlier had shattered the world record for the 400 meters, running 43.03 seconds. Bolt turned to reporters, told them he’d be right back, and then leapt back up onto the track to embrace van Niekirk, clearly the new buzz of these Games. 

No one is better suited than Usain Bolt to make the case that winning isn’t everything, because even while he’s the world’s fastest man, he seems to know that all human glory fades away. No one can make this case better because no one can accuse Bolt of merely making and serving loser’s lemonade. 

I don’t know if Usain Bolt knows Jesus. I don’t know how closely he follows the Christ whose cross he traces before each race. But I know Bolt’s enjoy-life, fear-God, sit-loose ways are even more legendary than his 100m Olympic gold three-peat.

Usain Bolt lives Paul’s secret and teaches us how to abound. That’s the biggest lesson The World’s Fastest Man taught The Girl With The Furrowed Brow. That’s why Usain Bolt is a refreshing breath of rare Olympic air to a very amateur runner who tends to take herself and any modest achievement far too seriously far too often.

From all of us who cling to success and abundance too tight and proud and need to sit more loose and humble, Usain deserves praise.

Behold, what I have found to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 

Ecclesiastes 5:18

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Dad Made It Easy

We Are Our Father’s Daughters

Dad has three daughters. That’s us at a surname bakery in Kilrush, County Clare.

Mom and dad took us to Ireland two Junes ago and in a week we all were smitten. We’ve since lost the lingo and forgotten what towns we toured, but Erin’s feeling lingers. Someone said, People will forget what you say, and they’ll forget what you doBut they’ll remember how you made them feel. 

As I sat down to throw a few Father’s Day memories together, my sisters conference called. Then I mentioned about Dad and they gushed.

They gushed, I think, because it’s so easy to remember how our Dad’s love makes us feel.

Faith Working Out In Love

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:6

Let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Maybe the reason we remember is that Dad lives and breathes Galatians 5:6. Without love, we’re nothing and Dad’s faith works its way out in love. We all remember how love feels.

Like when he’d let one of us sleep in on Monday mornings until the last second and then he’s wake her and drive her the two hours to college. She’d grab the special Dad-made latte with just his right touch of honey. And she’d sip her grogginess away while Dad drove the miles back up to UW. 
When one of us bounced a check in college, Dad didn’t criticize. Just ask if you need help, he said with concern writ-large in his eyes. And when one locked her keys in the car (again), Dad was Johnny on the spot. With a smile. No guilt trip. That was that and life goes on. 
One remembered stay up late, late, late to make sure the driveway was cleared of snow. He’d let his gardening be hindered by grandsons at the drop of a hat. And drop his plans without complaint and dash to town to deliver a forgotten trumpet or, more recently, a laptop. 
Or drive his John Deere tractor eight miles into town to drag a pesky bush out of city daughter’s backyard.

That’s our Dad. Drop everything, drive far, go low to show his love.

Kind of like Christ. 

Wise True Words, Too

I will run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32

Man looks at the outward appearance but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

God cares not so much what you do but what is in your heart. Faith expressed in love. Those are prime-time, all the time, for ourDad. Loving kindness comes out in words, too.We remember the feeling of love and we remember his wise words, too. 

God’s given our Dad a well-instructed tongue to sustain the wearyWhen one sister’s baby died shortly before she was born at 36 weeks, Dad had healing words for her. Hope is in the best place. We can never protect our children fully. Hope is perfectly happy, perfectly safe. Hope is home. 

When one sister couldn’t decide on which college and another was torn apart about leaving a career she loved and another about taking on a new job, that was dad’s advice. It didn’t always make the deciding easier, but still, Dad’s insight was freeing. Love God and do as you please.

When one sister was on the fence, conscience-stricken about whether watch a friend’s dog one week, Dad helped work that through, too. Loving that friend by loving her dog will limit the way you love your other friends who don’t like dogs. Being human means loving one will limits love for another. God knows. It’s okay.

Dad’s no blow-hard. He doesn’t bluster on. Dad didn’t make up rules that seem good to him, and then say he speaks for God. He quoted Augustine and lived it: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. Charity. Love. What counts is faith expressing itself in love.

John Calvin knew about fathers who get preeminence and then become presumptuous. This seems good to me, they say and subject their family to their own opinions. Instead, Calvin urges fathers, Let there be no teaching authority that advances what we invent, but let us learn from God so that He will dominate and alone have all preeminence. (Quoted in Sermons on Genesis, Vol.1, Banner of Truth)

What does the Bible say? If it’s not plain, if it’s a non-essential, then Dad wouldn’t come down hard either. Dad’s words were not presumptuous. Dad’s opinions didn’t rule. God’s Word did.

That’s kind of like Christ, too.

Love The Body

This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1
Let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10

Our Dad deeply loves the body. He doesn’t much applaud we sister’s in our fitness kicks. But how he loves Christ’s Body. And he’s taught us to love it, too.

Not that it’s limited to Sunday worship. But maybe four times in four decades have I missed a Sunday service. Not because of guilt. I want to be there. I love a worship service and for that, along with the Spirit, I credit Dad. 

Dad was my pastor most of my growing up years. And while some pastor’s kids are irked and recoil at the PK spotlight, I relished it. I relished worship. I relished the singing and the preaching and the being with my friends. It was all good.

Mostly.

There was that one Sunday when Dad interrupted his sermon. He stopped mid-stream and craned his neck up to address the kids up in the balcony in back of the church. That’s where I sat sans parent beside Mike and Trish and Scott and Stacey. 

Where Trish was talking and the guys were laughing and the preacher’s kid must have been carrying on, too. We all carried further than we knew. Then Dad looked up and didn’t pull his punches that muggy Sunday in June. Smack dab in the middle of the sermon, Dad’s big pastor voice boomed, 

Would the youth in the balcony please stop talking? Your voices are disrupting the service. 

So I learned a meaning for mortified. But I also kept learning to love this sacred coming together time. Gathering on Sundays was no penalty but joy to our young spirits.

And still is. The sisters invest themselves in the church’s children’s ministries and worship teams and life groups. Because the three see that building the Body of Christ is a treat. Our Dad showed us how. He made is easy.

Kind of like Christ

Like Father, Like Daughter (And Grandson)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness. Oscar Wilde

Not that I’ve already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12

Dad’s not perfect. He doesn’t claim to be. When my nine-year takes the Heinz and dabs it bite by bite on his brat, then licks his ice cream bowl clean, explaining, 

That’s the Grandpa way. 

As if that’s the final word on etiquette.

I’m not proud that I nibble right down to the nubs. I don’t know why I do. But Dad bites his nails too. 
I walk fast. Strolling sort of hurts. Sometimes I grab weights to handicap my pace, and impatience, when friends go slow. Dad’s real fast, too. Ask Mom. Especially on vacations.

I talk with zeal and interrupt. I’m not naturally slow to listen. Sometimes Dad talks with passion too. But I’ve also learned from him how to slow down and apologize.

I indulge-sometimes overmuch- in ice cream. Preferably cappuccino almond fudge. And drink to addiction strong coffee. My first cup was one Dad brewed. 
Even here in temptation, Dad shows me how much he needs God’s grace. Dad points me up to God.
And that too, is kind of like Christ.

Sowing Gospel Seeds

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:5-6

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4

I know Dad holds these verses close. He knows his children walk in truth in part because he did what he was assigned to do. Dad did his job.

He planted. And watered. And sprayed and weeded too. Dad’s a faithful hard-working farmer. He knows that when the Word goes out, it doesn’t return empty. He did his job even though he didn’t know which seeds would grow.

Dad knows how rain waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and sprout. How many times he prayed the ancient prayer with us, Blessed are you O Lord our God the King of the universe who brings forth bread from the ground and fruit from the vine? Dad knows who brings forth.

Dad would be first to say- and his daughters would be fast to agree- that it was God who made the seeds of faith that he and mom planted grow.

Dad’s taught me to embrace this divine paradox. God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are not incompatible.

Christ Jesus taught that,  too.

Words fail and wounds still heal, so I’ll hold some details back. But I’d like to paint one more picture.

When I was thirteen, Dad was offered the pastorate in a small church in a smaller place called Lyons, Wisconsin. I was in my last year at a little K-8 school across the border in Illinois. You’d think Dad would have jumped at it. By then, he’d been mopping floors and driving a school bus for five years.

But Dad didn’t jump. He weighed it with mom and prayed. Then he weighed it with his children, too-including an insecure, adolescent me.

What do you think, Ab? I know you’d have to leave your friends and you like our little farm here? Would you be okay if we moved? If I took the job in Wisconsin? 

I was okay. We did move. I met my husband there. Eight years later, when Dad gave this bride away, he said, He must increase, I must decreaseand did.

Things at church got rocky and dad resigned just shy of two decades at that little church. He left graciously and meekly, and- as I’m coming to see- partly he left for me. The peace of Christ must rule.

But God is ever on the move and works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. And discretely and gently, considerate of his wife’s wish to worship with the kids and grandkids, after a decade in a church two towns away, Dad decided to come back.

Which is a story in itself, but not where this one’s heading. Because this one ends in the basement, in the church nursery. That’s where Dad, with Mom, heads. To basement depths, and nursery deeps, Dad goes low. To dwell with babies and toddlers who barely talk and cannot grasp his great wisdom.

Which is a lot like Christ.

Dad Made It Easy 

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.” Matthew 19:14

[B]ut we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 1 Corinthians 9:12

Dad made it easy for his kids to come to Jesus. Some of you don’t have a dad like that. Some fathers make it hard. They lay stumbling blocks instead of sowing gospel seeds.

A good father lays down his life for his kids. He goes low to love his ownDad feeds his kids what his sweat has grown, potatoes and berries and beans. He watches grandkids, unlocks cars, and, for love, drives his John Deere miles to uproot a single bush. Where once he preached in the pulpit, now he plays in the nursery. That’s Dad.

He’s probably blushing at this. Not because nursery is beneath him. Not at all. He’s the one who taught us to walk humbly with our God. So it’s not because of spit-up and runny noses and diapers. No. Dad doesn’t mind his big farmer hands getting dirty.

If he’s sheepish at all, it’s because of this semi-public sort of praise. He prefers his praise come later, from his heavenly Father. Which is where I’ll leave off.

The first church Dad pastored had Swedish roots. They sang a song that Dad still sings. Maybe you know it. It’s called Children of the Heavenly Father.* 


It goes like this.

Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given
Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever
Unto them His grace He showeth
And their sorrows All He knoweth
Though He giveth or He taketh
God His children ne’er forsaketh
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy
Good dads make it easy to come to Jesus. They don’t hinder it. Good dads make us want to seek our Heavenly Father. 

Our dad made that easy.


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God.


1 John 3:1

*Words by (Swedish pastor’s daughter) Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg and translated by Ernst William Olson