Proverbs 13 has Solomon again contrasting the difference between two traits or actions. It is reality that in most of life’s choices or decisions, there are at least two options. And as scripture points out, one will typically yield a good result, the other not so much. His first comparison deals with how we listen to instruction. “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke”. None of us like instruction. We first and foremost always want to believe we are right ourselves, but unfortunately that is not always the case. We must be willing to listen to others and hear the wisdom in their words. God uses others, and for young people that often comes through parents and more directly often fathers.
A dad has a responsibility to lead at home and provide that wisdom. Certainly one of the challenges in society today is the reality that many kids are growing up in a home where wisdom is not handed down. In a lot of cases, parents want to pass the responsibility to the schools or the church or someone other than themselves. But in God’s design, parents bear that responsibility and need to invest in teaching their kids not only the difference between right and wrong, but how to live life inside that framework.
Part of that has to do with disciplining our kids when they fail to walk in obedience. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him”. This verse does not give us a license to beat our kids. But it does make it very clear what happens to a child left undisciplined – they grow up and often live a life that spits in the face of discipline and laws. Parents have to step up and be parents. Adults have to be adults and not leave their responsibility to someone else. If we don’t teach our kids how to live, they will only learn the hard way through a very painful system.
Solomon goes on to remind us that “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous”. Today the name of the game seems to be to spend all we make and accumulate as much stuff as possible. That is not God’s plan. We not only buy things we don’t need, it isn’t long before we don’t really want them so we rent space or have rooms dedicated to store things we don’t need or want all the while spending money we often don’t have and failing to create an inheritance. This kind of inheritance Solomon talks of is not merely money, and it certainly is not a bunch of stuff. It is leaving a legacy of godliness and righteousness that impacts generations. That’s our charge – to live a life that lives well past our time here on earth. That doesn’t happen accidently. It only happens through intentional planning and focus!