Many years ago there was a movie called “Rudy”. It was the story of a young man who had an insatiable desire to play football for Notre Dame. I am sure many of you remember the movie. I would even wager that many of you men who saw it remember how your eyes got moist when Rudy finally got the grades to go to Notre Dame and started playing during the practice games. Who can forget the tackle he made on the field of his very first game?!?!
Men, let me ask you this question, which I bet for most of you never even crossed your minds. Why did Rudy like Notre Dame football so much? Why was he so determined to play for Notre Dame?
This was actually my biggest take away from the film. You see, it was the influence of his father. Rudy’s father had a passionate enthusiasm about Notre Dame football that was contagious. Every weekend they would gather around the old TV and watch the Irish, win or lose, and cheer them on. His father bled Irish football. The most telling part of the movie is when Ned Beaty, who plays Rudy’s dad, walks into the stadium with Rudy’s brother, only to tear up as he is so moved emotionally to actually be at a real game!
You are asking yourself, “Mark, what in the world is the point of that story?”
Here it is: what a father is passionate about, what a kid sees his dad get excited about, get emotional about, and talk about over and over again, leaves a deep impression on the child. In fact, that passion and joy for that thing, be it fishing, hunting, football, baseball, skiing, outdoor sports, etc., is often and consistently passed on to the child. They grow up with the same love and passion. I have seen this over and over again.
It brings me to this eternal truth, that impacted me so deeply 43 years ago. This biblical truth is taken from the Berkley Bible, in Psalm 112:1-2, another passage I have thought so much about all these years.
“Hallelujah, O the bliss of the man who reveres the Lord, who greatly delights in his ordinances! His offspring shall be mighty in the land. A blessing shall attend the race of the upright!”
This passage struck a deep chord in my heart. It impacted me tremendously. Here is how:
Do my kids see me emotionally delight in God, and in God’s word? Do my children observe and experience my emotional joy, my great enthusiasm and great delight in talking about my faith, in talking about my savior and in my joy in faithfully living out God’s truth?
Do your kids see this in you?
I grew up in a boxing family. That is to say, my dad was a boxer, and we grew up watching the fights. You could tell my dad’s love for boxing. He passed it onto all us boys. We still love it to this day.
I know many of you men out there, get emotional watching your favorite football team. I know many of you men are devoted, even over the top for fishing. You are all in. You got the boat, the gear, the magazines, you can’t wait to fish.
If we are to pass on our faith to our children, if we are to be men who influence and impact there soul for Jesus Christ and shape their life choices for God, then they must absolutely must, see us as men, who genuinely love God. Who are emotionally and enthusiastically expressive about our faith, about God’s word the bible and who spend time reading it, sharing its fantastic truths with our kids, and living them out, with real enthusiasm before our kids to see.
The truth is very, very, very few Christian fathers ever do this. Sadly, tragically, I see more Christian men over the top, passionately enthused, and emotionally engaged about football than about Jesus Christ and His Word or about their wonderful, meaningful, friendship with God, or the joy of their prayer life. Your kids see it too and you are losing the most important thing you have: your kid’s spiritual lives.
I determined 43 years ago to make that verse a reality in my life. I have indeed experienced bliss, I have authentically, greatly delighted in the words of God and in doing the words of God found in the Bible, and I have watched all my children become great in faith and love for Jesus Christ.
You can too. Will you decide to do and live this verse also? I pray that you will.
Because of Jesus,