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Leaving a Legacy

Proverbs 4:1-7
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“Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. [2] I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. [3] When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, [4] he taught me and said, ‘Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. [5] Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. [6] Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. [7] Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.’” (NIV)

Tammy was Daddy’s little girl.  At 12, she brought down the house at her church’s talent show.  She’d sung several times as a child, but this was her first entry into “adult singing.”  She left them stunned.  Over the next four years she performed at several talent shows throughout the community and took home a blue ribbon every time.  It was effortless.  She was a natural.  At one show, there were over a thousand in attendance.  She was about the twentieth performer, and when she sang electricity filled the air.  Around a hundred kids ran down the aisle and screamed at her like she was a rock star.  The next year she auditioned for the television show “Star Search” and made the final cut, but didn’t show for the last call because she had a date that night that she didn’t want to miss.

Tammy was a natural, but she wasn’t the brightest candle on the cake.  Don’t get me wrong, she was brilliant, it is just that she lacked drive, determination and common sense.  In short, she lacked wisdom.  The final call for Star Search wasn’t the only appointment she missed; Tammy had a hard time finding the school building many mornings, resulting in truancy.  Up until 10:00 pm, the night before graduation, it didn’t look like she’d graduate, but at the final hour, she turned in her missing assignments and graduated with her classmates.

At her graduation, Ron was shocked to see her walk in with the valedictorian and class president.  What he didn’t know was that the school administrators had asked her to sing the National Anthem.  As she approached the microphone to sing, the five-thousand people in attendance went wild.  Tears formed in Ron’s eyes; he was proud of his little girl.  He wasn’t going to let everything else that was going on in her life rob him of this moment of pride.  He relished it.  He deserved it.

A local amusement park had a talent show, which Tammy won, hands down.  “She’s the most talented person we’ve heard in twelve years” the organizer of the event said, and then offered her a job singing and being an ambassador for the park.  She took the job, but was fired a week later for coming to work late and neglecting her duties. That was fine with her; she got another job singing with a band from the area and started playing the local nightclub scene.  That’s when it happened.  She started using marijuana, but she soon graduated to harder drugs. 

She was married for the first time, while she was four months pregnant.  “For the sake of the baby” Ronald helped Tammy and her new husband establish themselves.  He put a $10,000 down payment on a furnished mobile home.  Soon, her husband bailed, but she replaced husband #1 with a live-in boyfriend, who returned her kindness by getting her pregnant again.

The drugs continued.  Problems escalated. Child Protective Services removed the children from the home due to neglect and Animal Control took their dog away for the same reason. Tammy’s Mother-in-law hired a lawyer and got custody of the children. Ronald paid $2500.00 to clean the trailer—it was a mess, dog feces everywhere. They’d stripped its appliances, even the air conditioner and sold these things for drug money.  Ronald paid another $1500.00 to get out of the contract.

Ron prayed.  He was desperate for wisdom.  He needed to know when helping isn’t helping.  He wasn’t a wealthy man.  $14,000 was a significant amount of money, but he didn’t want to see his little girl live like this either.  Should he just accept the situation, or was there something else he could do?

As he prayed, he knew that he couldn’t change his daughter.  He had no control over her drug addiction, inability to hold a job, dishonesty, inability to care for her own children, lack of spiritual concern or ability to support herself.

Ron found himself in a situation where he wanted for his daughter what he needed the most himself—wisdom.  Our text says, “Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. [2] I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. [3] When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, [4] he taught me and said, ‘Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. [5] Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. [6] Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. [7] Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.’” (NIV)

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