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2 Kings 15:1-3
“Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh
year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel.  He was sixteen years
old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His
mother was Jecoliah, from Jerusalem.  He did what was pleasing in the
Lord's sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done.” (NLT)
Two things in this text intrigue me. One I will mention
in passing, the other is the theme of our worship service today.
If you are familiar with my ministry passion at all, you know that I believe
that all members of the church are ministers, called and gifted by God
to change the world—even if they are just sixteen. I believe that
churches should empower their members to minister based on three things,
their calling, gifts and their character. Certainly, other factors
are at play, but these three ingredients are essential. Look at verse
2, Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began ruling.
He was not alone. The pages of the Bible are sprinkled with
young people who are effective in their service to the Lord; people like
Daniel, David, John Mark and Rhoda. Let the full weight of verse
2 sink in–this sixteen-year-old boy was King of Judah. What is even
more remarkable is that verse 3 indicates that he was a good king.
OK, let’s do a reality check. Most sixteen year olds aren’t
ready to be King. To be honest with you, I was nervous both times
my sons took the car for their first solo trip. OK, let’s be really
honest–I’m still nervous when I think they are on the road somewhere.
That’s what makes this verse so amazing. God uses ordinary people
with character whom He calls and gifts to do extraordinary things–even
if they are only sixteen years old.
The other thing I notice in this text is that Uzziah wasn’t blazing
new trails here–he was following his father’s example. Look at verse
3 “He did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight, just as his father, Amaziah,
As a son, I relate to this verse. It is easy to get sentimental
on a day like Father’s Day and for our words not reflect complete reality.
My father is not a perfect man. Neither was yours. Neither
am I. Overall, I am a better man today because Larry Wilson is my
father. A few years ago, a retired pastor (who was a part of the
congregation I was serving) stopped by the office to pray for me. Though
I don't remember everything he said in his prayer, one phrase does stick
in my mind. He prayed, "Lord, bless our pastor as he stands on his Father's
shoulders to minister to us." Until that day, I never really thought about
the advantages that I have because I grew up in the home of Larry and Barbara
Wilson, but since then I've never forgotten them.
My father has an impressive list of accomplishments in his life.
Even in retirement, he is doing a substantial ministry and continues to
be a world changer. However, in my opinion, his greatest list of
accomplishments he shares with my mother. It is this one: Tim, Ted,
Jim & Lori. Each of his children, in their own way, has made
the world a better place. Potentially, our children are our greatest
Verse 3 says, “He did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight, just
as his father, Amaziah, had done.” How does a father leave a legacy
in his children?
It starts with spending time with them.
One of the greatest struggles I’ve faced is work-life balance.
There are seasons of life where my work has demanded almost all of my strength
and energy and other times when my family needed an extra portion of my
attention. The key, I’ve found, is to know my priorities and find
the strength to maintain a balance. No one will do it for me.
I’ve found I have to do it for myself.
Jack Welch, retired CEO of GE and author of Winning
“Even the most accommodating bosses believe that work-life balance is your
problem to solve. In fact, most know that there are really just a
handful of effective strategies to do that—staying focused on what you’re
doing and saying no to demands outside your work-life balance.” (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Saying no is tough. The most important decisions I make
in every workweek is what I don’t do. There is always another book
to read or visit to make or problem to solve. Every sermon would
benefit from “just one more hour” of editing or a little more research.
At home, we all deal with “honey-do” lists, at church I deal with “Pastor-do”
lists–plans other people have made for my time. I’m sure it is no
different where you work or go to school. Then there are the organizations
that you’re a part of, including the church asking for some of your time.
Demands on your time pile up and you have to decide what to say “no” to.
However, when I was a young father it was even more difficult.
When my boys were young, I was a full-time pastor while working on a Masters
and Doctors degree. I commuted 120 miles, one way to school and did
some substitute teaching on my day off to help pay the bills. Our
church did two building programs in the same period and had all the problems
associated with a growing church. Time was a precious commodity.
In addition, when I was home, I was fatigued from everything else I was
Perhaps some of you young fathers can relate. It is a cruel
reality of life that young men make less money than more experienced men
do, so they have to work longer hours or take extra training so they can
get ahead so they can make more money so they can support their families.
They have to sacrifice family time so they can earn enough money to support
So what’s the answer? Don’t know–I’m still struggling with
the issue myself, but let me pass along a few things that are helping me.
First, take a hard look at your EXPECTATIONS. Andy Dappen, author
the Two-Income Myth says, “Your life can become less stressful, happier,
more directed and fuller by embracing one simple idea, one that runs contrary
to what we expect as Americans: you can't have it all.” (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
I think one mistake many of us make when we are young is we think we should
live at the same standard of living as our parents do, when they’ve had
years to accumulate their things.
Philippians 4:12 says, "I know both how to have a little, and
I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the
secret [of being content]-whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance
or in need." (HCSB) There is a constant trade off between time and money.
Maybe a family can make more time to be together and settle for less money
if they stop thinking they can “have it all.”
Second, understand what a GOOD INVESTMENT really is. Ben
Stein graduated from Columbia University in 1966 with honors in economics
and was valedictorian of Yale Law School in 1970. He is a lawyer,
professor, actor, writer, author and frequent guest on Fox News to talk
about finance. Certainly, he is qualified to answer the question,
“What’s a good investment?” However, his answer might surprise you.
He said, “Go home from work early and spend the afternoon throwing a ball
around with your son.” (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Notice that he didn’t say “Quit your job and hang out with your kids full-time.”
He said, “Go home from work early and spend the afternoon throwing a ball
around with your son.” Psalms 128:3 says, “Your wife will be like a fruitful
vine within your house, your sons, like young olive trees around your table.”
Time with our families is time well spent. (HCSB) Some of my best
childhood memories are around a baseball diamond or a football field and
all of them involve my father setting in the stands or coaching the team.
He spent many hours at work, yes, but he also budgeted some time for his
Third, continue your struggle to REACH YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL.
Philippians 3:12-14 says, “Not that I have already reached [the goal] or
am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because
I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brothers, I do not
consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting
what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,  I pursue as
my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (HCSB)