It got me to thinking about things I learned from my family, things I hope to pass on to my new family. If I sat down and thought about it for awhile, I could probably come up with 31 (or more) important life lessons my parents passed on to me. But I thought instead, I’d share a few that come immediately to mind.
The tithe belongs to the Lord
From the day I started getting an allowance, my parents made me give ten percent of what they’d given me as an offering at church. It was just what we did in my family. God told us to give, and we obeyed. And even though we struggled financially, I watched my parents continue to put unshakable faith in Jehovah Jireh to provide for us. And he always did. We never spent a night without a roof over or heads, or went hungry for even a day. We were blessed.
And mom and dad taught me that we were so abundantly provided for because we tithed. I didn’t realize how ingrained in me this belief was until Jason and I were talking recently about the amount of tithe our church brings in, and what percentage of people in our congregation tithe off of their income. I must have sounded so naive as I expressed my disbelief that any Christian would be neglectful in this important discipline.
No matter how tight our budget gets, it would never even occur to me to keep our tithe to ourself. “I would be afraid God wouldn’t provide for us if we stopped tithing,” I told him. As it is, my faith is secure in God’s promise of Malachi 3:10:
“‘Bring the whole tithe into the store house, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'”
A strong marriage equals a strong family
My parents love each other deeply. They hug and kiss. Mom always has a pumpkin pie waiting for dad when he gets home from a long trip. Dad lavishes Mom with expensive jewelry she loves way more often than she expects. And they’ve shared a full-sized bed (not king, not queen – full) for more than thirty years. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
My sister, Katie, and I never had to worry about our parents getting a divorce. We grew up happy and secure, because we knew our mommy and daddy loved each other, even more than they loved us. And now, because of my parents’ example, I am happily married to a wonderful man whom I love deeply. And I pray all the time that my sister will eventually find the same thing. I’m confident she will, because she has a great example to go by.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger
I didn’t really appreciate the magnitude of this until I moved away from home. My sophomore year of college, my two other roommates were fighting, and I was in the middle of it. For weeks on end they refused to speak to each other. It was constantly tense in our house. I hated it.
Now I’m not perfect. I got upset and angry with my family members, too. In fact, I had some pretty knock-down drag-out fights with my family members, especially my sister. But no matter how bad the fight was, it always got resolved before the day ended. And the next morning, there was no resentment or lingering anger. It was a new day, and there was grace. What a beautiful thing!
Like I said, these are just a few of the things that come immediately to mind. If I spent a lot of time thinking about it, I’m sure I could come up with dozens more lessons my parents taught me, many of them probably without even knowing it. What invaluable lessons has your family taught you?