parents trusted him enough that they left us with him. All of my classmates related to Ramblin’ Rod as our one-hour of total freedom from worries. He had a silent impact on all of us.
I grew up on a farm, so our only free time was listening to Ramblin’ Rod during the week (he was very missed on Saturday and Sunday!). The rest of the time, my grandmother had us doing chores. This was a family farm with an outhouse and no electricity and housed two aunts, two uncles, my parents, my sister and me, my grandmother, and three cousins. So, you can see that we really appreciated freedom from chores during Ramblin’ Rod’s TV program. Although it was only one hour, it was one hour to look forward to.
I think people today take for granted all that they have. We had this one-hour show, a roof over our heads, and food on the table—that was considered my allowance. My family instilled that value into my brain; so my wife, Amber, and I raise our children with those values. We still hang our clothes out back on the clothesline; we make homemade ice cream together; we don’t have cable TV or internet; but we do have lots of outdoor activities to enjoy together. And, we talk to each other: we do the old-school speaking with each other and not texting. My five kids always try to convince me to update, but they’ve learned to adapt. My two older kids don’t have internet or TV in their own homes, either, and live a humble life like they were raised.
What Ramblin’ Rod taught us as kids was that life was as simple as a laugh with an old cartoon to make the family sit together and enjoy at least one hour a day together. In addition to that birthday button back in 1979, Ramblin’ Rod gave me a Bible. It was the first time I’d ever read the Bible. At 7 years old, I started with Revelation. It sure scared the heck out of me! But, it was Rod who started me reading the Bible.
My family calls me Bible Thumper, as I was the only one in my family who read—and keeps reading—the Bible. They still ask me questions about the Bible. I think they’re also making progress, as they at least now refer to him as God instead of the “Wizard in the Sky.” So, it must have done something for them over the years. My cousin recently told me he was sitting on the Oregon coast the other day crying, and suddenly thought about God. He said ever since I got that Bible from Ramblin’ Rod, I never shut up about God. It’s a start with a new relationship with God and His child. Here it is nineteen years after Ramblin’ Rod passed away, and he still has such a lasting impact on my life.
You never know what seeds you plant in others. In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Our stories are woven together, reminding us of the power of sharing our lives with each other.
We don’t accomplish anything in this life alone. Whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of our lives and all the weaving of each individual thread from one to another that creates a wonderful masterpiece. Every thread embraces the essence of life. Every moment is a thread, some are dazzling, while others are murky. When woven together, the light magically blends with the dark.
The tapestry of life continues to be woven through us. Occasionally a chance arises to repair an old, tattered piece of the weave. Something happens to jolt our awareness back in time to an event that resulted in tears and rips. With a new vision, we see the circumstances in a new light and have compassion for the unclear events of the past. While the new experience is being woven into the design, the old rip is being repaired.
When we embrace the many facets of our life, we discover a masterpiece woven by the very hands of our Creator. Every moment is like a thread, some are brilliant and beautiful, others are tattered and torn. When we look only at the frayed threads, in our moments of isolation, they seem inferior and less than desirable. But when woven together by our faithful God, our darker threads blend beautifully with our lighter and more mellow ones. Our beauty coalesces with our pain as God weaves a wonderful tapestry, that ultimately is the beauty of our lives.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13, 14
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)
The world around us and our lives will change. Some of those changes will feel like a tiny ripple, and others will feel like a ten-foot wave. But no matter what changes we face, we need not fear. We need not hide. We need not despair. Our rock and anchor is our unchanging God, whose character and promises remain fixed forever.
So let the changes come. We will not walk in fear, but in faith! We will trust God with all the changes, and know that He is more than able to help us and that He even has plans to bless us.
In His Name,
even when the disciples tried to stop them. Jesus knew that children matter and wanted to instill his wisdom into them too (Mark 10:13-16). There are several other instances in which Jesus models fatherhood, service, and love through children. I want to focus on two that struck me as especially meaningful.
Serving God through serving children
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me"
(Matthew 18:1–5, NIV)
I am not a trained Bible scholar, but when I read this verse I think that Jesus is trying to tell us to just simply chill out and serve. We shouldn’t worry about position or power, we need to serve God and others with the pure heart of a child. Think about a time when a child did something kind that was unexpected. The joy that beamed from their eyes when they brought you a hand-picked bouquet of flowers, made you breakfast or colored you a masterpiece. That is how we should feel when we serve.
Being a good role model
"If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!"
(Matthew 18:6–7, NIV)
Here we see Jesus reminding us to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. He uses hyperbole to express the magnitude of this charge. We have the wonderful, God-given privilege of showing the next generation how to be Christians. And Jesus says we will be judged most severely if we get it wrong.
As I reflect on Jesus as a model for fatherhood, I am reminded of all the times he cared for and supported women, it was a radical move during that time! He also supported and cared deeply for children. This was also a big deal in the patriarchal society he was born into. Jesus led with gentleness and caring. He had a big heart. Yet, he was no pushover. He protected and honored his Father’s house, calling the people there selling things and exchanging currency vipers (I believe this is a reference to Satan!). Jesus stood up for what was right. Jesus was humble, he didn’t require recognition for his miracles (unless it was to bring attention to God’s kingdom!). And of course, most importantly, Jesus was willing to lay down his life for each and every one of us. The ultimate sacrifice.
How can you be more like Christ today? What struck you about Jesus and his love for humanity through these scriptures? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Have a most blessed week!
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.