There is a very cool story told in Bruce Larson’s book, The One and Only You (retold in Swindoll’s book, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart). It seems that a family in Alabama planned a very special summer vacation visiting the West Coast. Unfortunately, though, the dad was unable to go himself because of business.
But he planned the route and all the details and sent his family on their way. After they were gone, he missed them terribly. And that’s when the story gets really good!
“He knew their route exactly and the precise time they would be crossing the Great Divide. So, he arranged to fly himself out to the nearest airport (without telling his family) and hired a car and driver to take him to the very place where every car must pass by.
He sat by the side of the road several hours waiting for the sight of that familiar station wagon. When it finally came into view he stepped out on the road and put out his thumb to hitchhike a ride with his family who assumed he was 3000 miles away.
When he was asked why he went to all that trouble, he replied, ‘Someday I’m gonna be dead and when that happens I want my kids and my wife to say ‘You know, dad was a lot of fun.’”
DAD WAS A LOT OF FUN.
Of course, dads (and by extension, adults in general) all need to take their responsibilities seriously. They need to ensure that their obligations are met. They do need to make sure chores are done, bills are paid and “the trains all run on time.”
But at the end of the day, it is the joy in our relationships that matters most.
The Old Testament leader, Nehemiah understood that important principle. When the wall around Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the children of God met again to read the Law and rejoice in the Lord’s provisions, he told the people, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh. 8:10).”
Truth is, these are frustrating and difficult days for many folks. It is very easy to be caught up in a wave of discouragement or fear. And those emotions deeply impact all those around us.
So this week, let’s all look for a way to have some fun. Let’s surprise those we love with a silly moment to share. Let’s laugh with those we care for and plan some joy. Let’s push back at the dark clouds and resist the urge to hunker down somewhere.
Let’s be known as people of joy!