I learned a little Hebrew today. Thought it was worth sharing.
“Torah” = “Law” in Christian Bibles, but in a Jewish bible it’s almost always translated “teaching.” As Christians, we typically talk about the Old Testament law as the means by which God showed us, how much we needed a Savior. (“Cause we couldn’t live up to everything the “Law” required.) Therefore, we think of the “Law” as a condemning sort of thing. If we could think of it more like Jesus did, like our Jewish friend do, I think we’d be thinking more accurately.It may be subtle, but it makes a difference. Let me show you:
Psalm 1:2 – “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
but if we read it the way our Jewish friends do, it’d say:
Psalm 1:2 – “The teaching of the Lord is His delight, and he studies that teaching day and night.”
Our Jewish friends, think of the “Law” well the “Torah” very differently. The Torah is a blessing – not a condemnation. It’s God “teaching” which helps us to live life more fully. Their attitude toward “Torah” is much more in line with it’s intent, and therefore more in line with God.
In much the same way, “Mitzvah” is translated “commandment.” We hear that word as burdensome – as something which comes from a domineering authority figure. But our Jewish friends hear it differently – in a positive way. They say things like “I had the opportunity to do a mitzvah today when my neighbor needed some help.” It’s not a burden, but an opportunity to honor God in a special way.
Bottom line: I think our Jewish friends have it right. If we could learn to think of these terms like they do, I think much of the weight of our faith would be lifted and we could live in freedom by rejoicing in His “Torah” (teaching) and looking for opportunities to perform a “Mitzvah” (commandment).
Sunday, I started a new leadership course. I’m not sure how I’ll be graded or even what is required, but I do know that this class will continue for the rest of my life. It’s not one that I can spend a few hours on each week either – it’ll require total commitment. The class I’m referring to of course is fatherhood. Kasen was born Sunday night and so I’ve begun this new journey. It’s much more than a leadership class, but that will be at least part of it.
As I look back, I recognize the leadership that my dad gave me as I grew up. I’m sure I could never recognize all that he did, but let me talk about a few things:
He taught me how to play baseball. (I’m actually left-handed, but play the way he taught me – right-handed.) He coached my little league teams in football, t-ball, and baseball. He read stories to my brother and I at bedtime. (That’s me on the left with the dark hair.) He showed me how to “play” and that adults could “play” too. He laughed alot and showed me how. He taught me how to do woodworking stuff. He taught me that families need to do long road trips together.
He taught me so much more, but you know. . . . .as I think about it, I realize that it’s not so much the outward things he taught me or did for me that I’m most grateful for. I’m most grateful for the example that he gave me – for his character. My dad taught me about God – not by talking about Him, but by loving me unconditionally. As he shouted and cheered for me on the football field, I understood how much God loved me and cheered for me. He showed me forgiveness and I learned about being childlike (as Christ calls us) by watching him play with my friends and laugh with us. I’ll probably never understand the depths of my dad’s influence on me and on my perception/understanding of God. My dad truly led me, but most people who knew him probably wouldn’t have called him a leader. He led out of his character and through his relationship with us. His leadership is evidenced in all three of his children. My brother, sister, and I, all work with kids and love serving God by guiding and leading/influencing others. I pray that I can be like him. I want to lead others to know God not just with my words, but by the way I live.
This new class I’ve started is one that millions of men have registered for throughout the centuries. It’s probably the biggest opportunity to influence a life that any of us will ever have. I wish the world recognized it’s importance – too many men have failed. I want to be a man who does not fail – one who truly places this leadership role as a priority.
Prayer: Lord, show me how to “be” – Who to “be” – and give me strength/courage/and whatever I’ll need to “be” what you’ve called me to “be” in this role as “leader” of my family and child. PS – thank you for the incredible blessing of Kasen! Cover him with Yourself. Protect him from evil. Guide Him to a knowledge of Your son Jesus Christ. Allow me to be a consistent presence in his life that represents You to him. Bring other people into his life who will lead him to a deeper/saving relationship with You. AMEN!
PS – I had an incredible experience this weekend as Kasen was born. I cried tears of joy over and over. The one thing I cried sad tears about was that this experience made me remember my dad again. (He died of leukemia.) I thought about things I haven’t thought about for years and wished he could have been there with us. I wish he could look into Kasen’s eyes, and I wish he could play football with him and read stories to him and roll around in the front yard being silly with him. I guess this is God’s way of saying to me that I should be intentional about doing those things. I can’t imagine that anyone ever gets to the end of their life and regrets the time they spent playing with their children – I certainly won’t – I will play just like my dad. (Doesn’t that make you smile? I know it makes dad smile, and I’d be willing to bet that it makes God smile too.)