By: Tim Sader
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:11)
Beside grandparents aunts and uncles were the people who formed my perspective of what the world was like. All of them are hardworking people, very respectful and fun loving. I learned invaluable lessons from each of them during my childhood. The aunts and uncles on my dad’s side of the family all lived in different parts of Wisconsin. I got to spend a good bit of time with Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim when we would visit or they would visit us. Aunt Judy is a beautician so many of my hair cuts she had something to do with. Uncle Jim is a retired police officer who could fix anything. When he would come for a visit he would make a list of projects he could complete at our house. Aunt Linda is married to Uncle Dan who is also Uncle Jim’s Brother. She was very crafty, made my brother and me Teddy Bear Christmas stockings that still look new today. Uncle Dan was a wood worker and could make things using wood. He made me a toy truck when I was little. Aunt Donna was independent and made a nice life for herself and three kids by being a bus driver. My mom had one brother and one sister so I had two aunts and uncles on her side of the family. They all lived in Minnesota so I got to spend more time with them and stay at their house a few times a year. Aunt Nancy and Uncle Ron lived in a lake house so in summer it was a lot of fun to visit to go swimming, boating and fishing. Uncle Ron was a master electrician and owned an installation business. Aunt Nancy took care of the office work and was a stay at home mom until my cousin left home. Uncle Ray and Aunt Geri lived in northern Minnesota for a while but I remember them living in the country on a dirt road near Grandpa Bob. Like my grandpa Uncle Ray was a truck driver and worked third shift for many years. Aunt Geri was a food worker in a nursing home and enjoyed being in the kitchen baking and canning food at home. I liked going to their house to enjoy the country life. I enjoyed learning about horses, rode one a few times and drove the lawnmower around their property. In the winter or while Uncle Ray slept I enjoyed watching movies with my aunt and cousins.
I learned so many things on mini vacations to see aunts and uncles in Minnesota. Aunt Nancy can communicate very well, she enjoyed sharing memories and different stories with me. For many years she wanted to be an aunt even before she had her son Rob. Each of her nieces and nephews knew they were her favorite and if the whole world turned on us she would still love us. Through her example we got to experience the love of Christ like when He let the children come to Him. I have never known a happier musical instrument than the accordion and she loved playing it. We would joyfully worship the Lord for hours at a time (Ps. 100:2). She would also get me to church even when I needed extra help getting up and down the stairs for kid’s church. For different reasons I enjoyed my time at Uncle Ray’s house. He was built like most truck drivers brawly with a full beard and trucker’s hat. He is a tough guy with a big heart but I knew it might not be good to see Him angry. I always felt safe with him because I felt things were safe with him around (Lk. 11:21). He helped me stop being afraid of clowns when I became one in a parade with my cousins. I enjoyed fishing with him and Grandpa Bob just to be with them even we would catch nothing (Jn. 21:3). Uncle Ray had a weekend job working for an old farmer. I think he did this more to help the farmer than to make extra money. He worked hard to bless this man and give him what he himself couldn’t do anymore (Acts 20:35). From aunts and uncles I learned to be self-controlled; they set a good example for me and taught me to have integrity and work hard in everything I would do (Ti. 2:6-7).
Someone reading this feels like they have wasted the lessons they learned as a child. Others feel they had no positive lessons from their extended family. They feel they have wasted the majority of their life and even with hard work there’s no reason to change now. God is not worried about what we haven’t done yet but in what we could do with the time we have left. With a shift in attitude, thinking and a little action now the Lord can help get us back to where we belong.
Lord we ask that you would help us to see the positive lessons we have learned in this life and for us not to waste them. Help us to work hard to bless others who need a helping hand. Help us to know you love us and would be there for us even if the whole world turns on us. Make us glad to call you Lord and fill our heart with joyful songs. In Jesus Name, Amen
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16