By: Reba Phelps
As I gently pulled the crispy new multi-colored tissue paper from the slightly recycled large gift bag (my mom and dad would reuse a gift bag until the bottom fell out) I could see the outer workings of a framed print. My parents were so thoughtful and would always buy a gift for every occasion that crossed our paths. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine’s Day… you name it, they would recognize it.
This particular occasion that they were gifting was a housewarming gift. This was the very first house that my ex-husband and I purchased about one year after marriage. It was the perfect starter home in a quiet and established neighborhood that was chock full of mature shade trees and beautiful homes. It was a fixer upper but we had nothing but time to make it our own.
The bag was slightly heavy and the framed print was oblong, so it was an awkward fit into the well worn bag. As I fumbled around in a flurry of gift tissue I was finally able to inspect the print. The delicate, gold faux wooden frame encased some pastel lavender painted words that read, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”.
After it was fully inspected, all I could think was, “Where am I going to hang this…it doesn’t match anything in my new home.” I never said I wasn’t an ungrateful brat during those younger years.
We had gone to great lengths to replace the 1970s flooring, painting the walls and replacing wallpaper with the most up to date styles. Our new home was meticulously decorated in a classic blue and white, Blue Willow style with soft yellow accents. There wasn’t any room for a mismatched sign.
This pastel print literally would not match anything, in any of my rooms. My parents never would have known this by my facial reactions. I mustered up the most grateful smile and made vague comments about hanging it as soon as possible. I knew deep down in my heart that I was not going to hang it anywhere.
The gift bag and its contents soon made their way into the storage closet under the garage. I would possibly hang the framed art another day.
Every time my parents visited that home I could tell they were inspecting walls to see where their treasure was hanging. It was nowhere to be found. At the time I told myself that I wasn’t a fan of the style, but in later years realized it was more indicative of my spiritual life. I had tucked my spiritual life away in a storage closet and vowed to use it one day. When needed.
But, didn’t use it for many more years.
The Lord was nowhere to be found in our home during those days. By no means am I suggesting that if we had merely hung the sign that we would still be married. I am acknowledging that the Lord was not the foundation of our home. Sure, our bodies were in church most Sundays but our souls were absent. We didn’t put the Lord first as we should have. We spent more time worrying about the outer appearance of our home and the condition of our yard rather than the true condition of our spiritual lives.
My parents clearly knew the importance of having our house serving the Lord, we just turned a blind eye to that wisdom. I am so grateful that God gave me parents who knew how to build a house on a solid foundation. I am so grateful that my father surrendered his life to the ministry and started following the Lord. Happy Father’s Day to the man who taught us how to be a follower.
“And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods the Amorites in whose land you are living; But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”