For Matthew

Get wisdom, get understanding;  do not forget my words or turn away from them.  Proverbs 4:5

Hi Matt.

I’ve been thinking about the things a dad should be teaching his son. If it’s okay with you, here are a few thoughts buzzing around in my head. God willing, they’ll be something to establish your life on in the years ahead.

Be a risk taker. There’s an old Danish proverb that says that we shouldn’t sail out farther than we can row back, but this proverb is superfluous when most people aren’t even prepared to go sailing. So get into the boat. Trim the jib and catch the wind. Of course I’m referring to the wind of the Spirit. God is looking for men who’ll be risk takers for Him. I pray you’ll be that man, that you will “be strong and very courageous” Joshua 1:6. And I hope that when God looks for a man to stand before Him “in the gap on behalf of the land” (Ezekiel 22:30) you’ll be prepared to heed the call.

Watch your words. You have a sharp mind, a ready wit, and you’re certainly not tongue tied. These are wonderful gifts, but in using what God has given you never forget that to whom much is given much will be expected. So pay careful attention to God’s Word and allow Him to teach you how to be a man of His Word (cf. Proverbs 4:5). As I often tell myself, blunt words have sharp edges, and good words are worth much and cost little.

Money matters. To be a man of God you must know how to manage money. It’s not complicated. I do everything on the 10 – 10 – 80 principle. After taxes have been deducted, I make sure that for every dollar I receive I start by giving 10% or more to the Lord’s work. The tithe is just a guide. We should excel at the grace of giving as it teaches in 2 Corinthians 8:7. If you can give more than 10%, do it gladly and generously. The next priority is saving 10%. Put this money away in RRSP’s or endowment policies. The 80% (or less) that remains should be budgeted for daily expenses as well as offerings for missions and the poor. As Mum and I have practised the 10 – 10 – 80 principle we’ve had the joy of seeing God supply all of our needs. I believe God will do the same for you if you handle His money this way. Note: Concerning the borrowing of money. Personally, I believe if the Lord hasn’t given me the money for something then I’m either meant to wait and save up for it or I’m not meant to have it. Thus, although I know many people won’t agree, I don’t believe we honour God by borrowing money. Of course there’s an exception to every rule and for the sake of a roof over our heads Mum and I had to take out a mortgage. When it comes to housing it seems prudent to pay a mortgage instead of paying rent.

Be merciful and just. According to the morality of the world it’s okay to step on others in climbing to the top. It’s survival of the fittest, so they say. But that’s the law of the jungle, not the law of liberty in Christ. So be a man unlike most other men. Be man enough to feel another’s pain and overlook the faults you see. Deny yourself the sharp impatient response. Never react when you’re all steamed up. Cool off before addressing an issue. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. When it comes to mercy, “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” Matthew 7:2.

“Get wisdom, get understanding” Proverbs 4:5. A man is truly wise when he makes the pursuit of wisdom his lifelong goal. Don’t chase after the wisdom of the world, that’s selfish ambition. Biblical wisdom is that which comes from heaven and “is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” James 3:17. In other words, a wise man is known for his good deeds. Aim to be such a man. And remember, the only way to get wisdom is to continually lay hold of God’s words and to make sure that you never swerve away from them.

Well enough for now. I know we’ll have many more chats about being a man of God. In the meantime, put these things into practice.

I love you “Middle Mannetjie.”


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