For a few years now, we’ve had the privilege of having a weekly Bible study in our home. It’s been interesting and encouraging to watch the LORD work and show us new things, confirm or affirm old studies or understanding and to sharpen us in our walk with Him (and one another). Another tremendous blessing we’ve experienced is the blessing of walking with a young “newlywed” couple. I say “newlywed” that way bcz though they may feel like they’ve been married a long time now, to us it’s been a short time… not yet a year.
So last night we were talking together in our living room, after our study, and we were hearing some ideas they had about work and business opportunities and their plans. It’s always delightfully refreshing to talk with them as they’re so open, teachable and receptive to advice — now, that’s not to say that we tell them things and they automatically do them. No, no, no… that’s not what I mean by: receptive. What I mean is that they hear, consider and ponder their course. Perhaps what we share will be valuable to them and perhaps just a part of it will be useful. Whatever the case, they’re pliable… sort of like clay in the Hand of the Potter. O, and isn’t that just how we all desire to be to the LORD — pliable, yielded and tenderhearted toward the LORD?
Well, we were talking over some series of events early in our marriage and I was sharing with them that I’ve observed that most older folks — folks who’ve been married a number of years, would likely give nearly the same advice to young people. It’s really immaterial where they live, what they own, where they’ve been, etc., etc. What they would advise is very nearly the same. If they had it to do over, they would have saved regularly, they would have been more careful with their time and they would have developed healthful eating and exercise habits early on. We shared that we heard that advice early on. We heard it over and over and over. We didn’t heed that advice. We didn’t need to… we could keep working and we didn’t feel all that bad… so diet was sort of insignificant and exercise unnecessary. Oooooooooooo, wrong.
I shared that they could ask any couple and they’d likely hear the very same answers. That’s why marriage and finance books keep being written, that’s why health, diet and exercise books keep being written and that’s why New Year’s resolutions are essentially the same year after year. So I suggested that maybe they’d be ones to “break the mold” that maybe they’d hear and heed; maybe they’d be sitting in our place in thirty years telling the same thing to a young couple… only this time, from the perspective of having done so through the years and not later in their marriage.
We cautioned them about things not always being as they seem and that things never stay the same – of that they could be assured. We cautioned them about businesses offering grand income and little investment. We cautioned them about motives and how the accumulation of wealth –for most people– changes their outlook and a little more is always better. We talked about contentment and work and the necessity of having or doing both! It’s really easy to think that wealth wouldn’t change us and easier still to think that we’d be very, very generous if we made a large amount. Truth is, we’d all likely change and take care of ourselves first and then if, and that’s a big if, we had extra, we’d spread it around liberally.
Well, that brought up another topic and that was the matter of dual, or two, incomes… and the need to adjust their living expenses/needs and expectations to one income. Now, lest it seem we went from teaching or sharing to meddling, it was actually all part of the natural flow of the conversation. They shared that they’d been considering that quite a bit and had worked to that end themselves. See what I mean about them being pliable? The LORD was already working in their hearts… He was just using our conversation to clarity or affirm it to them (and to us). It’s no secret to them how we see the hand and working of the LORD in marriage and family.
We shared how that the LORD had cared for every single thing that’s concerned us, our family, our children, our home, our business, etc., etc, for nearly thirty years. In nearly thirty years we have had all our needs met — that though there were/are some very low times, very tough times, there was/is never a time where we did not have just what we needed — and we *needed* those tough times — especially early on! We needed to see God be God and for our faith to be strengthened and deepened. We needed His care in that way — we needed to see that no matter how foolish, how careless, or how faithless *we* were (are), He never is. He is always and only good. He is always and only faithful. We needed to *see* that and now… in faith we see how He was guiding us all the while. He was drawing us all the while. He proved (though He did not need to) Himself strong on our behalf. He was (is) forgiving and He was (is) our provider. We needed to see that… we need it now. He *is* faithful.
So… what a delight to talk and walk with those who are not as far down the road in years… but who walk with God and we share that very sweet and very strong bond of family in Him.