The Most Important Things
About the Guest
Crawford Loritts deconstructs the passage of Scripture where King David charges his son Solomon to remember the most important things.
Crawford Loritts deconstructs the passage of Scripture where King David charges his son Solomon to remember the most important things.
The Most Important Things
Bob: What’s the right balance, as a parent, between protecting your children and letting them experience enough of life that they wind up with a few scars? Here’s
Dr. Crawford Loritts.
Crawford: I understand the need to protect them from the evils, and the sin, and the hellishness that’s in our culture; but I have to tell you—protection is not development. I’m terribly concerned about this movement among some of us that wants to hover over our kids—and pull them back and sanitize and sterilize their environments—in such a way that they don’t interact with the evil world/a dark world, in which they were born to redeem, and impact, and be salt and light in!
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, March 13th. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Where does protection fit into our priorities, as parents; and how much freedom should we give our children? We’ll hear from Crawford Loritts on that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. When I was in high school, our choir sang a song that was based on the final instructions that King David gave to his son as David was dying and as Solomon was taking over. I don’t know if choirs are allowed to sing songs that biblical in our day, but our high school choir sang this when I was growing up. It’s stuck with me all these years—David’s counsel to his son—from a father, who’s dying. He had wise words to share with his son.
In fact, we’re going to hear today from Crawford Loritts about how important and how powerful it is for a father to instruct, and coach, and model for his son what really matters.
Dennis: Crawford is the pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia.
He is the father of four children / he’s the husband of Karen, and they have ten grandchildren. As you listen to Crawford share this story from the Scriptures, I want you to think about what you’re charging your kids with today. Are you challenging them with a high enough standard? Are you challenging them with the right goal? Are you challenging them with an eternal goal?
I think, Bob, we need to be putting before our children a biblical standard for how they should live throughout their lives; and I think we ought to allow a story like this, from
1 Kings, Chapter 2, to be like the song that you said you remembered all the way back to your childhood—just that it might stick in our hearts and we carry the burden of realizing we need to shape and direct the next generation.
Bob: I think we’ll get some good coaching from Crawford, as moms and dads, to know: “What are the important things we should be focusing on as we pass on a legacy to our sons and our daughters?”
Here’s Part Two of a message from Dr. Crawford Loritts on “Lessons on Integrity from a Father Who Lived It.”
Crawford: In 1 Kings, Chapter 2, verses 1-4, David is dying / David is leaving—the legendary David. As he’s dying, he calls his son, Solomon, in to make a grand handoff. David was consciously aware of the fact that legacies are not guaranteed—they are not guaranteed. And yet, Solomon was being tapped as next in line. David was about to go be in the very presence of God. It’s almost as if, as you read the text, the emotional context is really compelling. It’s as if David is reaching out and grabbing his son, Solomon, by the lapels and pulling him close. [Emotion in voice]
In these four verses, it’s almost as if David is saying: “Son, this is what I’ve lived for. These are the footprints in the sand, and I need you to embrace what you were born for.”
And parenthetically, as we raise our children—from the time they’re little somethings / from the time they’re tiny—we need to be whispering in their ears that they were born for the glory of God and for the plan and the purposes of God: “This is what you were born for, and everything in your life has to be lined up for your moment in history—that you’re just passing through here. You’re going to be very dead one day. One day, God’s going to say, ‘Give Me back My breath.’
“What were you born for? What are you living for? What are you doing?”
It’s amazing, when people are dying, how essence they are—all the other garbage, and all the other frills, and all the other stuff—it doesn’t make any difference anymore. David is dying. As he dies, he charges Solomon with these three things—he charges Solomon to live courageously; he charges Solomon to live obediently; and he charges Solomon to live faithfully. I’ll say a few words, and then I’ll be done.
First of all, he charges Solomon: “I want you to live, Solomon. I want you to live. I want you to live courageously.” Verse 1 says, “When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth.’”
Now, notice this line: “‘Be strong; show yourself a man,’”—“My time is up; it’s coming to a close. The ball is being placed in your hands. Solomon, I am challenging you to press through the challenges and the opportunities of your responsibilities. I need you, Solomon, to step up.”
In fact, in the Hebrew, the expression, “show yourself a man,” literally is, “become a man.” I think what David was saying to Solomon was: “Solomon, Solomon, Solomon—I need you to rise up to what you were born for.” Solomon was to become what being the king of Israel required—required.
I could get off into this, but I don’t have time to do this. I actually think we coddle this generation a little bit too much—
—I actually think we soften them a little bit too much. We don’t give them what they need. I believe the text doesn’t say that perhaps David sensed some weakness in Solomon. Solomon was not like his daddy. David ran for 16 years, hiding out in caves from Saul. David was a tough dude, and David experienced some hard stuff—he didn’t silver spoon it. Solomon grew up with a little bit more cotton around him, and a little more cushion around him, and a little more options, and a little more resources—he had stuff to choose from. David probably sensed in him: “Solomon, I—I don’t know that you have the grit and the resilience that you need to do what needs to be done. You have to show yourself a man. Show yourself a man,”—
—conviction versus compliance.
I am concerned about how we are raising some of our kids. I understand the need to protect them from the evils, and the sin, and the hellishness that’s in our culture—don’t get me wrong—the margins are almost erased right now. I get that / I get that. We pray for our 11 grandkids and what they’re going through; I mean, there are just too many opportunities for evil. But I have to tell you—protection is not development. I’m terribly concerned about this movement among some of us that wants to hover over our kids—and pull them back and sanitize and sterilize their environments in such a way—that they don’t interact with the evil world/a dark world, in which they were born to redeem, and impact, and be salt and light in!
David says: “Solomon; hey buddy, you have to step into some stuff. Live courageously—don’t run from the challenges; but run to God to get what you need to face the challenges, Solomon.”
Secondly, he says, “Solomon, live obediently.” Tender words, here, in verse 3, “And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes, His commandments, His rules, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses.”
When you do exposition, you always have to pay attention to the emotional context. I think this is biographical—I think David was saying to Solomon, in so many words: “Solomon”—it was not just about the Davidic covenant / not just about the promises of David—I think he had that in mind, because the text says so; but I think there’s something else going on here. I think David wanted his son to love God’s Word the way he did! He wanted him to cherish it the way he did: “Solomon, you need to bring your life in line with the truth of God’s Word.
“You need to live it—not just speak it, not just quote it, not just argue your paradigms and all that stuff about it—but you need to live this stuff. You need to live it. You need to live it. You need to live it. You need to live it.”
This is what David was saying to Solomon: “Solomon, listen to me, buddy; you can’t do it, man. You can’t do it. I need you to cherish this book. If you’re going to be successful / if you’re going to make it, you’re going to have to walk with God; you’re going to have to love this book; you’re going to have to listen to this book.” David was telling Solomon: “Hey, buddy; don’t get cute. Don’t get cute. Don’t think that because I’m your daddy, you’re on the throne, and you’ve inherited this throne at a very important time—and I’ll become a living legend, and this stuff is being passed off to you—
“—don’t think that this is sustainable—that somehow or another, vicariously, my background you can broker and that will make you a good person. You need to walk with this, son—you need to love it.”
We need to raise our kids to say: “You don’t have to do me proud,” “You don’t have to be anything that you think I want you to be,”—take that off the table—“But you do have to obey God.”
But then he says, thirdly, “You have to live faithfully.” I suppose, technically, faithfulness is a subset of obedience—that’s probably accurate—but I want to parse it out a bit here; because he says, here in verse 4, “…that the Lord may establish His Word that He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before Me in faithfulness with all their hearts…’”—
—what is he saying? David is saying: “Hey look. You know the mess in my life; okay?” David ended well, but he had some major “oops.” I believe he’s saying: “You know the mess between me and your mama; okay—it’s well-documented. [Laughter] It wasn’t cool—you know about Nathan; you know about my brokenness; you know about my repentance. By the grace of God, I’ve gotten back on the right track, boy; and you have got to be faithful!”
In other words, “You have to remember where you came from and what’s been placed in your hands.”
You see, faithfulness means to obey God in the little things. It is a daily commitment to do the right, honorable things, and often the difficult things—often the difficult things. You see, to me, greatness is not notoriety / greatness is not recognition.
You know, I was being interviewed several years ago. Somebody said something / they heard something—and they used the words, “Boy, you’re approaching greatness…” or something like that—first of all, they need to get out more; [Laughter] but when they said that, I said: “No, no, no, no; no. Greatness is buried, side by side, in Old Dominion Cemetery in Roanoke, Virginia—Crawford and Sylvia Loritts—because they were faithful/faithful.”
And David was telling his boy: “Every single day—in the small things / the big things; the things that people don’t see, behind closed doors—get after it, Solomon. Get after it.”
One of the greatest things you can do—rather than trying to raise your kids to be a great speaker, or a great athlete, or this kind of thing / this kind of thing—teach them how to just be consistent in following through on the noble, right things: “You hurt my heart, son. Why?—because: “Loritts, we don’t steal,” / “You show up, boy. I heard you were late for that little job you had. Show up.”
Some time ago, my oldest son, Bryan, and I—we were speaking at—this was a few years ago—we were speaking at the Billy Graham Center at the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. While we were there, I said to Bryan: “We have a break in the afternoon.” I said: “You know, do you want to go back down to Conover, North Carolina? It’s less than an hour away. That’s the old homestead—that’s where Peter held forth, and my grandfather, Milton, and where my dad was born.” Bryan was excited, because he hadn’t been there since he was a little guy.
We went on down I-40 there, and got off at the Newton Conover exit, and snaked over the railroad tracks—I hadn’t been there in years—back to Second Street. I was surprised I could find my way over there. As soon as you cross on Second Street, on the right-hand side is a little tiny church called Thomas Chapel AME Zion Church.
Interestingly enough, my grandfather had given the land for that little church to be built on. Behind the church, there’s a cemetery. The cemetery, interestingly enough, was there before the church was there—there’s a cemetery. About a half to almost two-thirds of the bodies in that cemetery are related to Lorittses.
As Bryan and I were walking around the cemetery, I was reminding him who some of these people were—you know: “That’s Pop’s brother, your Great-uncle Ordell,” and “That’s Uncle Hayes, right there,” “Here’s Uncle Emery,” and “There’s Aunt Annie, right there,” “There’s your Great-grandfather—my grandfather, Milton / Pop’s dad,” and “There’s his wife, Anna, right here.”
As I began to just tell him about these people, I was ambushed by emotion. I began to weep; and I said to Bryan—I said: “Son, these people paid your tuition. They paid your tuition.”
I guess the charge I want to make to you today—as you look at your children, and you look at the future and look at a time that you cannot see, and you’re making the investments in their lives—you’re doing the drudgery, day in and day out—and you’re correcting them, and disciplining them, and you’re laughing with them, and you’re going through the struggles / “Are they ever going to get out of my house?”—or all this stuff that’s going on—keep in mind: “You’re paying their tuition. What are you investing in them?
“Will they be able to live courageously? Will they live obediently, and will they live faithfully?”
Holy Father, thank You for Your Spirit; thank You for Your power; thank You for Your grace. Thank You for what You mean to us.
Lord, the most intimidating thing we do, as a parent—You’ve entrusted with us those precious lives that bear the image of our great God. There’s a devil out there; there are all kinds of mess. They have their own temptations and issues; but Spirit of the living God, we pray that You’ll help us to roll up our sleeves so that we can look each one in the eye, when that moment comes, and say, “By the grace of God, I did the best I could.”
We love You, Lord Jesus.
Thank You for what You will do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bob: Again, today, we’ve been listening to the second part of a message from our friend, Crawford Loritts, the pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia—a message that Crawford shared at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, their conference on parenting that was held, back last fall. It’s a timely message; and one that we felt is important for our listeners as we try to live intentionally, as moms and dads, raising the next generation.
Dennis: And Bob, as you know, Barbara and I have been working on a book called The Art of Parenting. It’s going to be a part of, really, the largest resource launch in FamilyLife®’s 41-year history—that’ll occur in May and, also, next summer—where we’re going to be setting our sights on equipping one million parents to raise their children to fulfill God’s design and blueprints for their lives.
I just want our listeners to get ready to maybe be a recipient of some of that training or to be a messenger. That’s a part of what Crawford was talking about here—you’ve raised your children, intentionally; but you’re also thinking about the next generation: “How can you send a living message to a time that you will not see?” Crawford spoke powerfully about that in his message, Bob, where he’s really challenging us to outlive ourselves—live through our children / live through the generation to come—to make an impact upon their culture and the people they influence.
Bob: If you missed any part of the message, you can go back and listen, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Let me also mention—there’s information available there about a new resource that FamilyLife has been working on for more than a year now. It’s an eight-session video series called FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™. It’s going to be available for small groups; it’s also going to be available, online, for moms and dads to go through—just the two of you working through it, if you’d like.
Crawford’s son, Bryan, and his daughter-in-law, Korie, are one of the contributors to FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting—so is Alistair Begg, and Kevin DeYoung, and Dr. Meg Meeker—there’s a great list of folks who join you and Barbara on this video series. Again, you can get more information / you can watch a preview of The Art of Parenting when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and find out more about how you can order the material or how you can access it as soon as it’s available in early May.
We’re kicking all of this off with a movie that we’ve created called Like Arrows. It’s a movie that stars Alan Powell and Micah Lynn Hanson. Alex Kendrick has a role, as well; and Alex and Stephen helped us with the production of this film. It’s in theaters two nights only, and we’re hoping that our FamilyLife Today family—many of you—will make plans to join us on a Tuesday night/Thursday night. Bring your friends / pack the theaters, and come out to see Like Arrows.
Tickets are on sale now. You can find out more / you can see a trailer for the movie when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. If you have any questions, give us a call at 1-800-358-6329.
Finally, let me mention that we have copies of the book that Crawford Loritts has written, called Never Walk Away: Lessons on Integrity from a Father Who Lived It. It’s available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order Crawford’s book, where he reflects on things he learned from his own father. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com to order; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
You know, I mentioned this new parenting emphasis for FamilyLife. Our goal is to begin a movement of intentional parenting, not just in the church, but we want to take this content and deliver it to people, who aren’t listening to FamilyLife Today / folks who may not be going to church currently.
We’re developing strategies to help us put this content in the hands of people, who are right now far from God and far from the church, but people who are open to hearing what the Bible has to say about parenting. In the process, they’ll get a chance to hear the gospel; and who knows how God might use this series in their lives?
If you’d like to help us reach more people with this content—we’re calculating it’s going to take about $10 per home to be able to get this material in the hands of folks, who are far from God and far from the church. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com, and you can make a donation to help support our efforts; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Of course, every donation you give helps advance the mission of FamilyLife. You help us reach more people more regularly with God’s design for marriage and family—that’s what we’re all about here.
So, again, you can give, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. When you do, we’ll say, “Thank you,” by sending you a set of seven prayer cards designed for moms and dads or for grandparents to be praying more intentionally for your children or your grandchildren.
The prayer cards are our gift to you when you help support the work. We appreciate your partnership with us in the work we’re doing, here, at FamilyLife Today.
And we hope you’ll join us back tomorrow, when we’re going to hear from another man about the impact his father had on his life. Rick Rigsby joins us tomorrow. I hope you can be back with us as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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