感謝我的模範父親

By:Robert D. Foster

我父親,是一個好父親,他對我有強而有力的長遠影響。即便今天我已經九十四歲了,我仍然可以感受父親Delos Lynn Foster對我不可磨滅的屬靈影響。

爸爸出生在美國奧勒岡州佐登谷山鎮裡一個養馬和羊的農場。我也繼承了他熱愛土地、樹木、馬、人和神的特質。他特有的蘇格蘭英文是來自兩大堅信屬神的家族Foster和Dinwiddies。

完成大學學業之後,爸爸搬到加州的Watsonville當L.E. Bain布料公司的業務員。當時他和一個比較年長的親戚同住,所以當地的YMCA就變成他靈性和實質生活中非常重要的一部分。

幾年後,YMCA 提供父親一個工作機會,問他願不願意搬到愛達荷州去? 如同他經常對我說的: 「我熱愛建造年輕人和神之間的關係遠遠超過賣衣服。」但是這個初階的工作無法提供比較好的薪水,幾年之後我的父親又回到零售商店去賣衣服。這次是到 J.C. Penney store 這家公司。

Lars Tendall 是地區店舖的經理,他介紹我的父親給這位傳承又有前瞻的商人J.C. Penney認識,Penney馬上給我父親一個挑戰。他說:「你來做全職,因為我計畫要開新的店,我想你應該已經準備好可以運作這家店了。」所以我父親就和母親商量,花了很多天禱告,當他做決定的時候,心中滿有平安和信心。

那一年是 1910 年。1912 年第一次世界大戰爆發。我父親當時做了一個很簡單的決定,他告訴我們,他要留在YMCA,他相信神會供應我們。他一直持守自己的決定。

1929 那一年我九歲,記憶裡我跟著父親到芝加哥的聯合火車站和一個叫做PENNEY的先生見面,他搭著紐約中央鐵路 Commodore Vanderbilt 的首航火車到達。

當他從車廂走下來的時候,他把我抱起來,在我的耳邊說:「你父親做了正確的決定。」這是聽我父親事後說的。多麼不可思議的一句話。我的父親放棄成為企業執行長的機會,選擇留在 YMCA 當秘書,因為在那裡他可以投資一生在年輕人的身上,改變他們的一生。

從這件事情,我學到一個很簡單的原則:「我們做決定,但是決定也成就了我們。」

在聖經舊約的約書亞記24章15節說:「 若是你們以事奉耶和華為不好,今日就可以選擇所要事奉的:是你們列祖在大河那邊所事奉的神呢?是你們所住這地的亞摩利人的神呢?至於我和我家,我們必定事奉耶和華。」直到今天,我永遠感謝父親做了一個正確的決定。

Robert D. Foster是失落山谷牧場的創辦人,目前居住在美國科羅拉多州,多年來他一直積極參與CBMC,並擔任美國CBMC的理事。

省思 / 討論題目
FOSTER先生寫了這一篇週一嗎哪來紀念他父親對他一生正面的影響。對照我們與自己父親相處的經驗,你認為自己的父親如何影響你的一生? 有些人觀察到今天單親家庭的數目急劇地增加,父親對小孩的影響減弱了,對此你有什麼看法? 作者的父親拒絕了一個非常有前途的職業,選擇留在一個能對青年人產生影響力的職位。你能夠想像當自己在相同的處境下會做什麼決定嗎?說明你的理由。 「我們做決定,但是決定也造就了我們。」這句話你有什麼看法?
若你想看或討論聖經對此主題的其他部份,請看以下經文:詩篇37篇3-7節;以弗所書2章10節;歌羅西書3章23-24節; 提摩太後書3章16-17節

A TRIBUTE TO AN EXEMPLARY FATHER
By Robert D. Foster

A good father has a powerful, enduring influence. Even today, at the age of 94, I feel the indelible, godly impact my father – Delos Lynn Foster – had on my life.

Dad was born on a horse-sheep ranch in the hilly country of Jordan Valley, Oregon, U.S.A. Is it any wonder that he passed on to me his love for land, trees, horses, people and God? The legacy of my father”s Scottish-English roots is a gift that was tied with two staunch branches – from the Forester side is the theological anchor, and the other is the Dinwiddies” devotion.

After his days in college, Dad moved to Watsonville, California to become a salesman at L.E. Bain Clothing Company. While living there with an older cousin, the YMCA became a vital part of my father”s life, both physically and spiritually.

Within a couple of years, the “Y” offered young Del (his nickname) a job if he would be willing to move to Coeur d”Alene, Idaho. “My love for young men in their relationship with God was more important than selling them clothes,” I often heard my father remark. This new, start-up position did not offer much of a salary, so once again Del was back to selling in a retail store. This time, however, it was with the local J.C. Penney store.

Lars Tendall, manager of the local store, introduced my father to the legendary, visionary businessman J.C. Penney, who immediately issued him a challenge. “Del, come to work with me full time, because I am planning on opening other operations and you would be ready to manage one of them.” After he discussed the opportunity with his sweetheart, Sadie (my mother-to-be) and had spent many days in prayer, Dad had peace and confidence when he arrived at his decision.

The year was 1910, and World War I would start in 1912. My father”s decision was simple: “I”m staying with the “Y,” and God will supply,” he announced. He stayed true to that decision.

When I was nine years old, in 1929, I had the unforgettable experience of going with my father to the Union Railroad Station in Chicago to meet Mr. Penney, who was arriving on the inaugural run of New York Central”s “Commodore Vanderbilt” train.

As “J.C.” stepped down from the parlor car, he picked me up and, according to my father, whispered in my ear, “Your dad made the right choice.” What an amazing statement. Dad had given up the opportunity to become a corporate executive, choosing instead to remain a YMCA secretary where he was able to invest in the lives of young men and make a difference in their lives for eternity.

One important principle I learned from this is simple: We make decisions, but decisions also make us.

That is what it talks about in Joshua 24:15, an Old Testament passage: “Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house (my family), we will serve the Lord.” To this day, I am eternally thankful my dad made this decision.

Robert D. Foster is the founder of Lost Valley Ranch and currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A. He has been actively involved with CBMC for many years and served on the CBMC-USA National Board.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Mr. Foster writes this “Monday Manna” as a tribute to his father”s positive impact on his life. How does your experience with your own father compare to this? How do you think this has influenced your life to this point? Some observers have stated that with the dramatic increase of single-parent homes, the importance of fathers and their influence has become undervalued? What are your thoughts about that? Instead of accepting the offer of a very promising career in business, the elder Mr. Foster elected to remain in a position where he could be a positive influence in the lives of young men. Can you imagine making a similar decision if confronted with such a choice? Why or why not? What is your reaction to the statement, “We make decisions, but decisions also make us”?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:3-7; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:23-24; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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