The Value of Family Training
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles to Proverbs, chapter 23. We have suggested to you that our study of the book of Proverbs has followed the divisions into which the book naturally falls. At the present time we are considering together the division that we have designated as The Proverbs of the Wise, which begins with chapter 22, verse 18, and goes through chapter 24, verse 22. Verse 23 of that chapter introduces the second portion of that division called The Words of the Wise. At the present we are studying together The Words of the Wise I, and we have suggested to you that that particular division falls into some other divisions which represent the advice that the wise gives.

We have already learned that the wise are a group of men on an equality with the prophets and the priests. We have considered things not to do, and there follows a discussion of the value of family training, then three kinds of company to shun and then the pleasant riches of wisdom's house. We keep in mind that wisdom's house has already been built in the book of Proverbs. We noticed a number of things about it. When we come to this particular section, we will be noticing the pleasures which are found in wisdom's house.

We would like to consider with you the second section in this division, The Value of Family Training, as it is presented to us in chapter 23, beginning with verse 12:

Proverbs 23:

12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
1505 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

We will stop our reading there because that is the natural end of this particular section. Keep in mind that the wise men, when they teach what they have to give, quite often address the individual student as “son.” We recognize that in this particular section so that you will be able to recognize a difference between advice that is given to the father to give to his son and the address that is given to the father by the words, “my son.” You will notice in verse 12 the appeal that is found in the beginning of nearly every division in the book of Proverbs—an appeal to accept what is about to be said and to give serious understanding and attention to it.

In verse 12, we read:

Proverbs 23:

12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

In the light of the context this is not an appeal for general heeding instruction and the general reception of the words of knowledge. In the light of the context this is an appeal for the fathers who will be addressed—of course, the mothers too—to listen carefully to what these wise men have to say about the value of family training, the value of the proper training of children.

It is one thing for individuals who know nothing about a subject to talk about it and quite another thing for individuals who are well versed in the subject to talk about it. This particular group of people that we have referred to as the wise men were well versed in what they had to say about family training. We are going to point out to you what we find in this particular paragraph concerning the advice they gave to their students related to the subject that we are talking about.

The Importance of Instilling Eternal Values

The first thing that was brought to their attention was the importance of instilling eternal values into the hearts and the minds of their children. This is brought to our attention because of what we read in verses 13-14. Look at them again:

Proverbs 23:

13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

The reason that we suggest this title is because of what we read in the last part of verse 14. Notice again:

Proverbs 23:

14 …and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

You may wonder how corporal punishment can deliver an individual from Hell. The answer is found in that these verses of Scripture recognize three definite things. One is the need for salvation. These wise men recognized what David declared in Psalm 51, verse 5—that we are conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity. David believed that every child born into the world was born into the world with a sinful nature, and for that reason they needed to be saved. These wise men believed the same thing, and you would do well if you believe that your child is born with a nature that has a tendency to sin and that he, because of that, must be saved.

Any individual with a sinful nature must come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because this nature that is born toward sin is the Adamic nature, and these verses all describe for us the natural bent of the Adamic nature. That is why the emphasis is placed upon correction because these wise men recognized what David recognized in Psalm 58, verse 3—that the people born with this Adamic nature go astray from the womb, seeking lies as soon as they are born. I don't know how much more quickly people can show their natural tendency than that. “They go astray from the womb, speaking lies as soon as they be born.”

Let us fix something very clearly in our minds. What these wise men were saying to their students is that it is not normal and it is not natural for the individual to do right. The natural thing for the individual is to do wrong. Therefore, you should not withhold correction from your child. Your child needs correction. I would like for you to notice that word correction with me as I remind you that it comes from the Hebrew word muwwcar , which is literally translated by the word halter . Most of you know what a halter is in dealing with a horse. There comes a time when you must recognize that you should place a halter upon your child, literally, because there is no way in the world to restrain him without it. Figuratively, you are instructed to put restraint upon your children because they will not do what is naturally right to do in their unregenerated state. That is the importance of correction in this passage of Scripture: “Withhold not that correction for it is sorely needed.”

This word withhold is a very interesting word in view of the fact that many people do not like to use correction with their children. The word withhold comes from the Hebrew word mana , which means literally “to deny the benefit of something to someone.” If you withhold something, you don't just keep it back if you use this word: “Deny them the benefit of what is rightfully theirs.” We would like for parents to recognize that you do your child no favor when you withhold correction from him. You are denying him the benefit of what is rightfully his. The reason that God gave you your child is that you might give to him what is rightfully his because if he is left to himself, he will wind up in Hell. There is no way in the world for it to be different. It is up to you to offer the correction that will set his feet on the right path.

The Delusion of Satan

I mentioned that in this paragraph three things were recognized: the need for salvation, the natural bent of the Adamic nature, and another thing which I have described in the words the delusion of Satan . These wise men were well aware that Satan would attempt to delude individuals into thinking that correction would be bad for the child. That is brought to our attention in verse 13:

Proverbs 23:

13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

The word rod here describes a very thin stick. It is not a big two-by-four which gives you the right to abuse the child who is in your custody. It describes a thin, reed-like stick that will not injure but will punish and will let the child know that he is being corrected. Satan, of course, will tell you that if you treat your child with corporal punishment, he will probably die. Many parents fall into the delusion of thinking that is true. These wise men said, “Don't worry; they won't die.” Of course, sometimes children who are very adept at having their own way and accomplishing their own purpose have developed a very good method whereby they have convinced their parents that they will die, and sometimes the initial crying or even, in some cases, screaming when the rod is applied will make the parent think that this child is about to die.

These wise men who knew everything to say to young fathers who perhaps are carried away with the privilege of having a child for the first time: “Don't you withhold from him what is rightfully his. You correct him. Correct him with the rod if you have to, and don't be afraid you will kill him because you won't. What you will be doing is saving his soul from Hell.”

This word Hell here is the Hebrew word Sheol , which describes the place of departed spirits. In the Old Testament Sheol was composed of both Paradise and Hell. Paradise, as you know, was the upper story, and Hell was the lower story, so there is possibly a suggestion in this passage of Scripture for Christian parents whose children are already saved. Sometimes Christian parents whose children already know the Lord feel like they have fulfilled this injunction to instill eternal values in the heart of their child and they will say, concerning their child, “I have dealt with him in such a fashion that he has come to know Christ as his Savior, so my responsibility is ended.”

Keeping in mind that the Bible teaches that Christians who are disobedient to the Word of God continuously and consistently often meet an early death, it would be wise for Christian parents to apply the rod when needed to Christian children to even save them from an early death because that could be the suggestion found in this particular passage of Scripture when it says:

Proverbs 23:

14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell [the word literally being Sheol].

In verse 15, you will notice the wise men speaking:

Proverbs 23:

15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

The wise men are saying to their students, “If you are going to pay attention to what I am saying, my heart will rejoice.” You can bet it will rejoice, for that is the emphasis that is placed upon the double reference to rejoicing. This is the same thing that John wrote in the third epistle which bears his name, when he said he rejoiced when he heard that his children (his spiritual children) were walking in the truth. Any teacher of the Word rejoices if he knows that those to whom he is giving the Word and those to whom he is speaking obey the Word of Truth.

Watch Your Language

Look at verse 16, where he says:

Proverbs 23:

16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice,[now he introduces a new thing] when thy lips speak right things.

The wise men are saying to parents that it is important for you to instill in the heart of your child eternal values. There is something else important for you to do. You need to speak right things. I have summed up that suggestion in the words Watch Your Language . Parents need to watch their language before their children. It would not be amiss to emphasize that parents should watch their profanity around their children. Perhaps you are saying, “Aren't you addressing a group of Christian people? Isn't it highly unlikely that Christians would use profanity around their children?”

I would say to you that it is most unbecoming for Christian parents to use profanity around their children, but it is not unheard of because Christian parents can walk in the flesh just as they can walk in the Spirit. Oftentimes when they are walking in the flesh, they do use profanity. Their children hear it and pick up words which are oftentimes repeated for which they are punished when the parents themselves forget that they have used that kind of language before them. So, I say that it would not be amiss to warn you about profanity when we say, “Watch your language.” Actually, that is not the thought of the context. The idea of the verse when you are instructed to speak right things is the idea of fairness because the word right comes from the Hebrew word meyshar , which is translated not only by our English word right , but it is translated by our English word straight and by our English word fair . The suggestion is that you should watch your language when you are before your children so that when you do speak, what you speak will be right and what you speak will be fair.

Parents have a habit of exaggeration of which they are not conscious always. Their children develop that habit of exaggeration, and parents whip them for lying. The only reason parents can get away with it is that there is nobody around big enough to whip them. This is tragic, for the child is punished for something for which he is not responsible. The parent is actually responsible for it.

Watch Advice You Give Your Children

If you will look at our text again you will notice that the word speak plays a prominent part. Notice verse 16 again:

Proverbs 23:

16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

There are a number of Hebrew words that the Holy Spirit could have used when He used the Hebrew word for speak , but He chose to use the Hebrew word dabar, which means “to give advice,” or “to advise.” As a matter of fact, it is translated by the word advise in Judges, chapter 20, verse 7. We will not take the time to turn there, but we would remind you that the Benjamite, who was ill-treated by some of his enemies, presented his case to the tribal council and said to them after his case was presented: “Now give your advice as to what should be done.” He was expecting fair advice from those to whom he spoke, so when we say, “Watch your language,” we would say, “Watch the advice that you give to your children.”

Think with me, parents: Are you absolutely sure that the advice that you have given to your children when you have been asked for it has always been fair? Are you absolutely sure that it has not been colored by your own ideas and by your own thinking? If your own ideas and your own thinking are consistent with the Word of God, then you need make no apologies whatsoever; but if your advice is given because you have a certain desire in mind for your child or you have a wish in mind for your child, then you are not being fair in the advice that you give if you do not take into consideration your child's desire and God's will.

That is the reason some children find it difficult to follow the advice of their parents. They may not always be able to explain the reason that they don't feel right about it, but sometimes they recognize that the advice that parents give is biased and unfair, and though they might have to follow it because the parent gives the advice, they lose confidence in the parent. Better to withhold suggestions, better to withhold advice than to give advice that is not fair in connection with everything in the case.

I would like for you to notice something else about this word speak . The noun form of the word speak is the same word that is used for the word commandment every time the Ten Commandments are referred to in the Scriptures. I want you to get that. This word speak involves giving a command. It involves giving a command as serious and as definite as the Ten Commandments in the holy Scriptures.

This is what I want you to think about with me, parents: When you give your commandments do you watch your language so that your commandments are always fair and reasonable? The reason that some parents have trouble with obedience is that they command their children without prayerful consideration of the thing which they command, and the command itself is unfair and unreasonable in the light of the Word of God. The child sometimes finds not only a lack of desire to fulfill the command, he finds it utterly impossible to fulfill because the demands which have been made upon him are such that he could not begin to fulfill them.

I want to say something else that you may not agree with, but before you reject it, think carefully about it. If the commands that you give your children are given without the prayerful direction of the Holy Spirit, if they are inconsistent with the Word of God, then you cannot expect God to honor your command and place a spirit of obedience in the heart of your child in relation to it.

If you will pardon this personal reference, perhaps I can say this in shorter words. Before my wife and I gave commands to our children, we were always very careful to pray about the command that we gave. I am not speaking about everyday, ordinary commands that need no praying about. I am speaking about rules and regulations which represented commands. We would always be careful to pray about it, and then we would ask God to place within the hearts of our children a spirit of obedience to that command, reminding them that the obedience to that command would not only be disobedience to us but disobedience to God because we had carefully sought the will of God in the matter. When there was a need, we would even open the Word of God and show them from the Word of God that the command had its roots in the Word and not in our own peculiarities and not in our own ideas; and then we would emphasize to them that if disobedience was forthcoming, it would not be primarily disobedience to the parents, it would be disobedience to the Word of the living God.

Then we asked God to put a spirit of obedience in their hearts—not to us, but to His Word and to His will. It makes a tremendous difference, for we are all individual personalities, and there is no reason your child should particularly think that you should know more than he does. There is no reason your child should particularly think that your desires ought to be his desires, and if the selfishness that is in any part of his nature arises to the surface, then there is rebellion which you cannot begin to understand, for you hear yourself saying, “But, I thought I made this clear.” You did, as far as what you said was concerned, but the fairness and the equity of it was never presented so that the child could grasp it.

Express Right Attitudes

Look at the paragraph that begins with verse 19, where the wise man is speaking to his student again, saying:

Proverbs 23:

19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

And now he introduces another suggestion in relation to family training. I have summed up this suggestion in the words, Express Right Attitudes . Notice verse 17, where we read:

Proverbs 23:

17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

I have summed up these two verses in those words because of what is suggested in the context. Look at it again:

Proverbs 23:

17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

This is not a word of the father to the son; this is the word of the wise men to the parent. The wise men are saying to the parent: “Don't envy wicked men. Live in the fear of the Lord.” It is one thing for you as a parent to say to your child, “Don't envy wicked men; live in the fear of the Lord,” and not set the example for them, not express in your everyday living that this is actually how you feel about the subject.

The Bible says that godliness with contentment is great gain, and yet many parents live a life of absolute discontent before their children. Every time they say to their children something about the advantages of following Christ, living in the fear of the Lord, their children think in their own minds, “If it is so wonderful and if it is so glorious, why are you so unhappy?” Many children have been turned away from following the Lord, even though they have been well instructed, as far as details are concerned, because parents have not expressed the right attitudes in relation to eternal things. They talk about the fear of the Lord, but they spend all of their time wishing that they did not have to make the sacrifices that they have to make, talking about the fact that if they were not Christians things would not be thus and so.

Parents, I hope that you do not ever make the mistake of saying to your child, “If we were not Christians, we could do so-and-so.” It implants in the heart of the child the idea that there is a disadvantage to being a Christian by envying the wicked and talking about how prosperous people are who don't follow the Lord, leaving your child with the impression that it may be a pain to follow the Lord. The wise men said to the father in verse 17:

Proverbs 23:

17 …but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

The principle by which all Christian families should live is expressed in these words, “For surely there is an end…” This word end is a word that is of real interest to us along this line because it comes from the Hebrew word achariyth , which is translated by the word reward . In Proverbs, chapter 24, verse 14, we read:

Proverbs 24:

14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.

The word reward there is the same Hebrew word that is translated end in our text. Down in verse 20 the other side of the coin is presented:

Proverbs 24:

20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

Notice the word reward . The principle by which all Christians families should live is that there is a reward for right living. There is a reward for every family who lives in the fear of the Lord, and emphasis should be put upon the blessing and privilege of godly living, not only at the so-called family altar, and not only in verbal teaching, but in the very life that you live so that the very attitude that you express every day of your life would be positive rather than negative along this line.

Set The Right Example

Look at verse 19 again, and notice the appeal:

Proverbs 23:

19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

As we emphasized, it is the word of the wise men to the student and not the word of the father to the son. It introduces another suggestion that parents should follow in the right kind of family training. I have expressed it in the words Set the Right Example. Notice verse 20:

Proverbs 23:

20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

These words are summed up very well in the phrase, set the right example , and three things are brought to your attention. Fathers, you should set an example before your children in relation to temperance. I use the word temperance , not with the suggestion that it is all right to drink a little instead of a whole lot, but because the word temperance is a word that sums up the whole paragraph in a sense.

The first phase of the temperance is related to the statement: “Be not among the winebibbers…” You say again, “Are you not among Christian people? Is there any need to warn Christian parents not to use wine and set a bad example thereby for their children?” Yes, evidently there is a need because the Word of God emphasizes it and we know by actual examples we have seen that Christian men do imbibe intoxicating beverages and set a bad example for their children. Don't excuse your example setting by the suggestion that all you ever do is take a social drink. As a matter of fact, this passage of Scripture is referring to a party where people get together and drink wine and eat flesh. Don't go to such parties. You are setting a bad example for your children. It is pretty difficult for you to tell your child that he shouldn't do a certain thing if you are setting the example by doing it yourself.

There is the matter of gluttony brought to your attention in the statement that you should not be among the riotous eaters of flesh, and there is a suggestion that you should set the right example in relation to diligence because of the statement, “…drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” The father who does not drink intoxicating beverages will not be faced with as great a danger that his child may drink as the father who does. The father who is not a glutton will not be faced with as great a danger that his child will be a glutton as the man who is a glutton. The man who exercises diligence in relation to everyday work will be more likely to have a child who will work hard and make a success in life than the man who does not follow the practice of diligence.

Watch Your Associations

There is one other suggestion that I would like to make concerning this particular paragraph and I have described it by the word associations because, as I have already hinted, the suggestion is a social gathering. Notice again:

Proverbs 23:

20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

“Be not among them…” Parents watch your associations. Sometimes parents, for business reasons, reasons of social obligations, and other reasons that we will not take the time to name, permit associations in their own lives that they do not permit in the lives of their children and which they hasten to criticize their children for.

Consistency is a rare gem that most of us don't possess and all of us long for. It is very, very difficult for your child to live with the inconsistencies in your life. It is difficult for my children to live with the inconsistencies in my life—for me to tell them one thing and, by my actions, do another, for me to tell them that certain kinds of associations are making provisions for the flesh, whether they know it or not, and I, for whatever reason maintain those same associations. The wise men say to the parents, “Parents, watch your associations. Set the right examples.”

Notice the paragraph which begins with verse 22, where the wise man says to his students:

Proverbs 23:

22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Skip down to verse 24:

Proverbs 23:

24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

I suggest that the wise man here is saying to his student, “Be sure in your family relationships to instill the proper attitude toward parents.” This is vitally important. Some parents grieve over the fact that their children do not respect them. They have never taught them to respect them, and worse still, they have seen a lack of respect on the part of their parents for their own parents, and it is difficult for them to think that parents should be treated any other way than the parent in questions treats the grandfather or the grandmother. That is the reason in verse 22 the wise man says to his student:

Proverbs 23:

22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

This is not advice that you give to little children. This is advice that you give to grown people. Fathers, listen to your fathers. They are still able to advise. They are still able to share knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes when we reach adulthood, we feel that we are on our own, and we are. We feel that we are quite capable of managing our own affairs, and we are. But I think that we are missing out on a tremendous blessing that God has given, particularly if our parents are Christians, to fail to recognize the maturity and the wisdom of age. If you are grown now and have children of your own, if your father is a Christian, grounded in the Word of God, take advantage of his spiritual maturity. Take advantage of the wisdom of age and save yourself some real problems.

When you find yourself setting an example of listening to your parents, your children will be much easier trained to listen to you. Of course, the statement here, “…despise not your mother when she is old,” is not a bit of advice given to a young child. In the sight of a young child his mother will never be old. She is eternal. This is advice that is given to grown folks who are a little bit ashamed of mother when she gets old, when perhaps she doesn't dress as neatly as once she dressed, or when she puts on her hose, they are not always matching. Sometimes she gets different colored shoes on her feet, and you think, “We can't have her out there where everybody is going to see her.” This is advice to people who are grown, and whether you realize it or not, there are Christian parents who wonder why their children do not respect them who feel this way about their own parents when they are old. They feel that they are not worth listening to, and the best thing to do is to keep them out of sight.

If you want to train your children to respect you, then by example, instill in them a proper attitude about parents by harkening to what they have to say, by refusing to despise them and by emphasizing to them, as we suggested to you in verses 24-25, that children can be a joy to their parents. If you speak to your child constantly about what he is costing you, if you speak to your child about the sacrifices you are making for him, this is all that he will recognize; and he will recognize only that he has a responsibility to you, much as an individual might have a responsibility of paying a bill that has been incurred in his behalf. When the bill is paid, there is no more feeling between the child and the parent. There is no more desire on the part of the child to bring any real joy to the parent. Oftentimes the child will say to the parent, “I have paid you back every penny you have ever spent on me,” and the love and joy that ought to be there—the crown and the joy of old age, as the wise men put it in Proverbs—isn't there. But if we as parents instill in the hearts of our children that our children were meant to be the joy of their parents, then they, indeed, are that—joy all the life long and joy in the loneliness of old age.

If, when you do something for your child, your child says something to you like this: “Thank you for doing that for me,” and you say, “Well, that's all right, but one of these days you are going to have to take care of me,” you don't accomplish anything. But if, when your child thanks you for doing something for them, you could smile and say sincerely, “I am so glad to do it. I only wish I could have done something more for you,” there is a joy that is built into the heart of the child that cannot ever be taken away by anything else.

I would like for you to notice the verse that we skipped purposely in our reading of the paragraph so that we could look at all the verses that had the same theme together. I call to your attention verse 23:

Proverbs 23:

23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The wise man is saying to the father, in relation to the training of his child, because that is what the paragraph is all about, “Father, set a right sense of values before your child.” You say, “Why do you say that in the light of verse 23?” Notice again:

Proverbs 23:

23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The wise man is saying to the individual father, “Father, you set an example before your child, but the most important thing in the world is not found in material values. The most important thing in the world is found in relation to spiritual values.” You have to be careful or before you know it, you will be giving your child the idea that the most important thing in the world is material values because you will sacrifice and scrimp and save to have something that is material that is nice, that is pretty, and you will give your child the idea that is the most important thing there is in life. You will want a new house, a new car, a new television set. There is not anything wrong with that if they come in the natural course of living, but if you scrimp and save and sacrifice spiritual values to gain material values, it won't be long until your child will decide that it is more important seeking material things than it is spiritual things.

When I use the phrase, spiritual things , I am not thinking only of things related to Christianity or to the Word of God, but I am thinking about those things which are not exactly tangible as concrete and stone. They are described here in verse 23 by the word truth , by the word wisdom , by the word instruction , and by the word understanding . Did you notice what the wise man said to the parent? “Buy these things,” and I want you to notice that word buy . It is a word that is used to describe a purchase price, the sacrifice you make to have is never too great. No sacrifice is too great to have these things: truth, wisdom, instruction, knowledge and everything that is related to them. Buy the truth. It doesn't matter how much you have to pay for it. Buy it; get it at any price.

It is the same idea as expressed in the parable that the Savior told when He said, “There was a man who found a pearl of great price and he went and he sold all that he had in order that he might have that pearl of great price.” You don't need to answer me; I just say this to provoke your thinking: How many parents buy material things on an installment plan and think nothing of it and would not dream of buying a course of some description that would assist their child in real living on the installment plan.

It is difficult to find comparisons for everyone because everyone does not have the same talent; but there are parents who would not think anything at all of buying an automobile on an installment plan and would think it absolutely foolishness to purchase music lessons for their child on an installment plan. They would say, “Oh, you don't need those silly piano lessons,” and the child gets the idea that they don't need piano lessons. Dad needed a car. “Dad, why can't I have piano lessons.” “We don't have the money for it.” “Where did you get the money for the car?” “I'm paying for it on time.” The child says, “Why can't you pay my piano lessons on time?” “You don't need them. They are silly.” The child automatically begins to recognize that some things in life have no real value.

Take this other bit of advice, parents, that the wise man gives to his student parent, when he said, “Buy the truth and sell it not.” Notice the phrase, sell it not . It suggests that no price is great enough to buy from you these things which are incorporated in the phrase, spiritual values . If you have developed the spiritual values in your life, spare no expense; no sacrifice is too great to get them. If you have these spiritual values in your life, then no price is great enough to take them from you.

Why do I say that? I know parents who are very concerned about their children now, and the reason they are concerned about them now is their children have no interest in what we have referred to as spiritual values . There was a time that they did. There was a time that their children were vitally interested in spiritual things, but a new opportunity opened for the father—an advancement—and it meant more money, and more money meant more privileges, and more privileges meant more prosperity. Without thinking about what it would do to the spiritual values that he had already gained for his child, he took the advancement and lost the value. He paid a price far greater than he expected to pay, far greater than he wanted to pay; but now it is too late, for seldom (I would like for you to get this) can the spiritual values of which I have been speaking be repurchased once they are lost. Seldom can they be repurchased.

Conclusion

I ask you not to take the advice that I have given you concerning family relationships as coming from me. Take them as coming from this group of wise men whom God said were on an equality with the prophets and the priests. Remember that God was pleased to keep them in His Holy Word that we might have them. If your family relationships have not been in line with what we have been talking about, may we ask God for grace to bring ourselves into line.


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