“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain.”
I love the bible. I go there when I need answers. My good friend Larcene Bowers told me of a time when her son was leaving for college, she sent him with a bible. She told him to read it when times were hard. She told him to go to his bible when he needed answers. We need instruction like this today, as many seem to have turned their backs on hard work, trusting in each other, and reading the bible.
While in college, there are expenses parents don’t anticipate. While away from home, there are burdens we can’t lift from our children, yet hopefully we have given them enough faith and strength to overcome the challenges life brings to them. While growing up, we learned about work and appreciated what we earned. We learned our parents truly had our welfare at hand, and later so did we as we tried to instruct our kids by ‘not’ giving them things we couldn’t afford. The housing debacle and the US bailout is a classic example of people getting things they don’t need with money they don’t have and feeling entitled if someone tried to correct them, or tell them to wait.
Nevertheless, sometimes they just don’t listen. That’s what happened. No matter how much we try to give them the answers, they just ignore us. Others have to suffer because they refused to listen. In Mrs. Bowers’ case, she kept asking her son was he reading his bible as he called her for money. Every time he answered, “Yes ma’am, I’m reading my bible.” His mother would reply, “Then you got all you need.” It’s called doing what you told, and learning to believe in yourself and what people who love you tell you.
Sometimes the answers are right in front of us; we don’t even have to look at them, to see them as they as really are. Sometimes we have to stop chasing windmills to understand that a simple reality check can open more doors than the ones we try to avoid. If we don’t take care of our house, take up the chant and realize what we have, we might lose it, because we stand the chance of not remembering what’s important. Like when people we elect to Congress don’t listen to the people who sent them there, rather the people with the deepest pockets. Have any of you checked who the largest beneficiaries from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are?
Right now, our country is faced with an adversary more divisive than any “dis-ease” we have ever faced. Not unlike the fireman in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, we stand to lose more than our freedom if we fail to read what’s going on. We stand to lose more than our guarantee of the pursuit of happiness if we allow someone else to tell us what happiness is. We stand to lose more than our American dream of a house, a job and an education if we don’t do something soon. We are not dumb. We’re not sheep. We are capable of deciding for ourselves, but many are too lazy to do that. We must remember, “A house divided cannot stand”, and we are capable of building a new house. All of you who are part of the electorate have an opportunity for change, but have you check who’s doing what to whom and for how much?
Larcene’s son finally listened to his mother. What prompted him to accept the wisdom and tutelage of his mom is the same promptings we find in our hearts; he knew she knew the truth. He wasn’t reading his bible. We know what’s right, but sometime we ignore it. We know when we are about to do something wrong, yet do it anyway. We realize, sometimes too late, that having said we were sorry, we were wrong, or even thank you, could make a difference. Is it too late now? I don’t think so.
What prompted Larcene’s son to open his bible? Need? No. Greed? No. That’s our country right now, and the bible tells us it’s the ‘love of money’ that leads to destruction. No, as I mentioned before, her son knew his mom somehow knew he wasn’t telling the truth. How? I didn’t ask her that or him. Maybe it was his roommate. Maybe she had a dream. But she knew what she had done in preparing him for school. She had given him instructions on why God was important to him, how prayer does change things. The real reason was she knew what was in that bible, because when he finally opened the bible he found more than just the word of the Lord. He found faith, hope and something else–money. His mom had put all sorts of dollars in his bible before he left, so when he asked her for money, she knew he was not reading his bible.
Are you reading your bible Dads? If you are, then you should know as the psalmist says that “children are the heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Our kids need to know what we believe and who is watching over them. If you don’t care enough for your children to go out and vote in November, then the Lord will not have an opportunity to build a united house.
The quote I used at the beginning was to be used by John Kennedy, the day he was assassinated. Can you think of a better reason to vote? Remember the Alamo. Remember the Maine. But most importantly, remember, “Except the Lord build the house…” As I told my sister, everything I do, with few exceptions is somehow connected to my house. I pray for my family constantly, and as Larcene told me to do: “Archie, I’m going to pray for you.” When we ask people to pray for our families, dads, don’t forget to remember we need prayer too!
We need houses built on prayer, and homes built on faith. I pray for my country, for we need a country built on people who are not afraid to use the name of God. We need a country built on people who are not afraid to say they pray. We need a country led by people we believe we can trust. Pray. Read your bible. Trust your faith and then vote. I know I will.
“Death makes strange provisions for life. It unites the lonely. It comforts the weary. It gives finality to some, hope to others.”
from Murder on the Pier by Jere Myles [ p.7]
Archie R. Wortham, PhD
Educator & Writer