02 November 2015

Of Teaching, Sowing Seeds & Loving All Things Old

Millet's The Sower
I was paid a very nice visit recently from one of my former Sunday school students dating back to the 1990's. Today this young man lives in the Midwest, is married, is an artist, runs his own business and is a father of four. He was homeschooled his entire childhood and went to work right after completing his education.

This young man (we'll call him James), called and said he was in our area visiting family and wanted to stop by my office, catch up and look at all my "old stuff" (much of which has been accumulated while relic hunting.) Of course, I agreed. The day after he left, I received this private message from him:

. . . just want to thank you for hanging out a little longer yesterday and letting me come by and see your stuff and talk to you for awhile. I really enjoyed it, that stuff intrigues me so much. I truly wish I was going to be here a little longer, for the chance to get to go with you on one of your digs. Maybe someday the timing will work out and it can happen. I appreciate you . . . I guess I've never really expressed to you how much of an influence you have had on my life, more than I even knew till I was grown. All of those Sunday school lessons, and not only that, but your love for all things old, and the propagation of honor and righteousness by exalting Godly men to a bunch of kids that you knew didn't get it yet . . . but mostly for not doing much changing. It's encouraging to see that these days. Makes me want to do the same. Thanks again, you and Diane mean more to me than you know. The times spent in your home growing up are happy times that I reminisce of quite often. God bless you, sir . . .
Men and boys love "old stuff." We're fascinated by the story behind old items, the craftsmanship, the legacy. I often use the stories behind "old stuff" (and old men) in teaching and speaking and I'm constantly reminded of Eric Sloane's sage wisdom:
Men used to build and create as much for future generations as for their own needs, so their tools have a special message for us and our time. When you hold an early implement, when you close your hand over the worn wooden handle . . . you are near to another being in another life, and you are that much richer. ~ Eric Sloane
How encouraging was this young man's visit and what a great manifestation of the eternal principle of "sowing and reaping" and the Apostle Paul's admonishment to the churches of Galatia:
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~ Galatians 6:9
I knew at the time, intellectually, that all those Sunday school lessons would eventually bear fruit. Yet, in my heart, I often wondered if I'd ever see evidence of that fruit. Were those teen-aged boys even paying attention? Did they care? Did they realize the importance of what was being taught and how eternal principles would serve them well in the years to come?

Many of them did and I've seen it many times in the ensuing years. 

By the way, James is a wood carver. Here's a sample of this young man's work.  


ropelight said...

Check out Bill Reed's The Raven and the First Men. The large yellow cedar sculpture depicts the Haida Myth of human creation.

All alone in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) the Raven noticed an especially large clamshell. He opened it and out come a number of small people - the first Haida.

The sculpture is located at the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology along with numerous examples of the excellent woodcarving by Northwest Coast Indian artists.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks RL - Wow, that one is something. The young man that did this fish sculpture did it with a chain saw. He's completely self-taught. He has more work than he can keep up with.