At his tender age, he had very limited experience and just the mere beginnings of a library. So he kept his eyes and ears open for illustrations wherever he could get them.
Consequently, while attending a preaching conference (Yes, there really are such things!), he took note of the following introduction a speaker used in a message on marriage and the family.
The speaker opened with this line: “I have a confession to make. Some of the best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife.” Naturally, the audience, comprised mostly of fellow preachers, was taken back by this. A moment of shocked silence ensued, after which he then stated: “That woman was my mother, the wife of my father. And now that I have your attention, I want to speak to you on why all these relationships matter so much!”
Well, needless to say, the young pastor was impressed by this introduction. He immediately decided to go back home and use it to open his own message the following Sunday morning.
When that time came, he promptly stood up and announced: “I have a confession to make. Some of the best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife.” As expected, his congregation was aghast. The excitement he felt at having achieved his desired effect was followed by an embarrassing momentary lapse of memory. After an agonizing moment of silence, he blurted out: “And for the life of me, I cannot remember who that woman was!”
While I have never heard a preacher make such an appalling statement, I do have my ongoing collection of favorite things I have heard said from the pulpit. Some of these have been sad. Others have been hurtful. And a great many have been downright funny.
One of my favorites was when Dr. Bill Young proudly announced to his congregation that he had fixed his own washing machine! Now, in and of itself, that may not sound like much. But he was justly proud of his accomplishment! After all, we preachers are not noted for manual labor. Nor are we noted for our technical prowess. We have been steeped in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, to be sure. But most of us are woefully lacking when it comes to mechanical proficiency.
I share these things in order to proudly announce to you, my readers, that I have just fixed the leaking faucet in our master bathroom sink! I am so proud of that accomplishment that I may well tell the church family this the next time I preach! I replaced the plastic valve inside the hot water lever, including the grommet and spring; and voilà, it worked! And I owe it all to my son!
The two of us could not have experienced any more different educational paths. In the language of Aristotle, he studied physics; and I studied metaphysics. As someone who desired to become a pilot since he was little boy, it is not surprising that he chose a technical aeronautical education from a major state university. He even learned to be a mechanic specializing in the rebuilding of jet engines as he made his way through school.
As a result, to this very day, he is not scared to tackle most any mechanical or technical problem. Even if he does not know anything about what he is about to undertake, he will simply watch a half dozen or so YouTube videos on the subject and then boldly jump right in!
Accordingly, when our faucet began to leak, I took a cue from him and Googled how to repair a leaking sink faucet valve. In no time at all, I knew what I needed to do. I made my way to the local hardware store, acquired the requisite materials, came back home, and performed the procedure flawlessly! I now have a faucet that produces hot water in demand precisely as designed. And I have my son (and the internet) to thank for my success.
Of course, this process of enlightenment is a two way street. Proverbs 11:25 says: “Help others, and you will be helped.” And as my son has helped me, I have tried to help him as well.
These days, given that he is now in his mid-30s and a husband and father himself, my son has increasingly come to me with questions more in line with my own fields of specialization. As he has inquired more and more about my thoughts on matters of history, philosophy, religion, and theology, I am glad that I have been able to help give him guidance in turn.
I can only hope that the day will come when my son will gladly testify that some of the best years of his life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife; and that that woman was his mother, the wife of his father. What is more, I hope that he will be able to testify that he was privileged to have learned a little bit about life from this woman, his mother, and from this man, his father; even as I, this man and his father, have also valued what all I could learn from him, as my son, in turn.
After all, no man knows everything. Nor could he. For this reason, we would all do well to learn from one another – in the process becoming both teacher and student, both instructor and instructed. Besides, it is only when we reach the point that we are no longer teachable ourselves that we cede the right to teach others.
By the way, the culprit in my faucet was an old, rigid, and crusty grommet that was no longer flexible. As a result, it ceased to be an effective conduit though which water could flow, rendering the faucet unable to properly fulfill its purpose. I hope I never reach any such point as an individual. Doing so will surely make it all but impossible for me to be used of God to benefit others.
It is for this reason that my prayer has increasingly become that of the hymn writer of old, who earnestly declared: “Make me a channel of blessing today; make me a channel of blessing, I pray; my life possessing, my service blessing, make me a channel of blessing today.”
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/gnt/proverbs/11.htm.
HYMN SOURCE: https://hymnary.org/text/is_your_life_a_channel_of_blessing.