This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon


This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Investment Tips for Growing Family Relationships

by Merle Mees

Warren Buffet is one of the richest men in America. Of those worth 1 billion dollars or more, Buffet is one of only a few who acquired his wealth through investing. Many investors look to him for investment advice. His firm Berkshire Hathaway has one of the most widely read annual reports issued. And a book has been written about his investment strategies; it’s called The Warren Buffet Way.

If you could sit down with Warren Buffet for a while and get some investment tips would you?

Imagine for a moment that your family is your greatest capital. If you could get some investment tips on how to grow it in quality would you be interested?

We hold in our hands a treasure of investment strategies for growing our family relationships. The Bible, God’s Word in written form, contains countless pro-family principles and precepts. If we learn and practice them they will make our family’s relationally wealthy.

Today we will look at just a few of the tips.

Tip #1: Understand each other

How many of you own a DVD? How many of you know how to program it? There is a big difference between owning something and understanding how it works. People who have a nodding acquaintance with a second language know the gap between hearing words and understanding the meaning of those words.

1 Peter 3:7 states You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (NASB)

Husbands we are directly instructed to understand our wives. Now I know some husbands who would say that it would be easier to understand quantum physics than to understand their wives. And guys, I know some wives who would say the same thing about us!

Now while the text is directly addressed to husbands it is not bad biblical interpretation to suggest that the principle of understanding one another can be applied to other relationships as well.

What does it mean to understand another person? It means to “make what is important to the other person as important to you as the other person is to you.”

For instance, one father who was not much of a sports fan, had a son who developed an interest in hockey. So one year he took his son to as many hockey games as he could. It cost him some money and time, but proved to be a strong bonding experience for them. One of his friends asked him in the midst of the hockey season, “Do you like hockey that much?” He said, “No, but I like my son that much!”

How do we develop an understanding spirit? By making the time to really get to know each other. And by making it a point to really listen to each other. I believe it was Yoggi Berra who said, “You can hear an awful lot by just listening.”

James 1:19 states that we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (NLT) Parents I don’t know of any child that would be repulsed by a parent who was quick to really listen to them.

Tip #2: Keep commitments

It has been said we should be “generous with praise, but cautious with promises.” Parents we need to do everything we can to keep promises we make to our children. Spouses we need to do everything we can to keep our promises to our one another. Children you need to do everything you can to keep your promises to your parents.

Why is keeping our commitments and honoring our promises so important? Because we all tend to construct our hopes around promises.

When a man promises to love a woman until death they do part, that gives the woman security to become all she was meant to be in the marriage relationship.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 says 4 So when you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. 5 It is better to say nothing than to promise something that you don’t follow through on. (NLT)

We can infer from this text that same holds true in our commitments to others. In other words, we are to be loyal. Proverbs 3:3-4 says 3 Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them down within your heart. 4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation. (NLT)

When we keep our commitments it builds trust. And there is no such thing as a healthy relationship apart from trust. Trust is the firm foundation upon which a family is built.

But keeping commitments can be costly. I remember one time this past year I was invited to a dinner meeting where the pastor of the largest Protestant church in America was going to be speaking. I really wanted to go, but when I looked at my calendar I saw that I had made a previous commitment to some students in our church. That was tough for me, but I felt my previous commitment was more important. I know some parents in this church who travel as a part of their profession. They will drive all night long in order to make it to a child’s school program they promised they would be at. You can be assured when the child sees them not only are they happy, but that parent has instilled within the child the importance of keeping commitments.

Got any commitments needing to be kept? Husbands and wives, when was the last time we visited the vows (a.k.a., commitments) we made on our wedding day? When we married we made a commitment that next to God our spouse would be the most important relationship in our lives. Does our time and attention reflect that?

Tip #3: Give some respect

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. is not just something Aretha Franklin wanted, it something all of us in any relationship want. In fact it is next to impossible to have a deep relationship with another person when there is no respect.

Could it be the reason some of us are not experiencing the kind of relationship God wants to have with us because we do not have respect for him? And could it be that the reason some family relationships are not secure is because God is not respected? Proverbs 14:26 states Those who fear (or respect) the Lord are secure; he will be a place of refuge for their children. (NLT)

Another word for respect is “honor.” Romans 12:10 states that as Christ followers we are to take delight in honoring each other. Did you catch that? We are to “delight” in honoring another person. It is not supposed to be a hassle or something to dread. When we delight in honoring another person it boosts their feeling of value.

How can we show that we are honoring the people in our family relationships?

· By respecting each other’s property
· By respecting each other’s privacy
· By respecting each other’s time

The people who have the most difficulty respecting others are those people with an inflated idea of their own importance; the sinfully proud. Philippians 2:3 tells us to be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. (NLT)

Tip #4: Offer encouragement

Perhaps the easiest way to grow a healthy relationship is to offer encouragement. A well known actress once said, “We live by encouragement, we die without it, slowly, sadly and angrily.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.(NIV)

How can we encourage one another in our homes?

· By smiling

Job, a man acquainted with grief and sorrow, in the chapter 29 of the book that bears his name, was recalling the days before he was visited with calamity. He said that when people around him were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them. (NLT)

Never underestimate the power of a smile. A smile not only increases your face value, but it warms the heart of those you give it to.

· By our words

Someone noted, “Man doesn’t live by bread alone. He also needs buttering up.”  Words are power in that they can do enormous harm and amazing good.

· By pointing out the positive.

A reporter once asked Andrew Carnegie the great entrepreneur of the previous generation why he hired 43 millionaires to work for him. Carnegie pointed out that those men were not millionaires when he hired them.

The reporter then asked, “How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you paid them so much money?”

Carnegie replied that people are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but you don’t go into the mine looking for dirt – you go in looking for gold!

Start today to look for gold in your child, in your spouse and in your parents. Jesus certainly must have seen the gold in the disciples he chose.

· By giving gifts

Are their any Barnabas’ in your house? In Acts 4:36-37 we read there was a man named Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need. (NLT) Joseph, because of his behavior, was given the nickname “Son of Encouragement.” One of the ways he practiced encouragement by giving gifts.

I saved the best tip for last.

Tip #5: Ask for and offer forgiveness

Anyone who lives in a family of any kind knows that people will disappoint and hurt you. I asked my mom and dad, who’ve been married for 54 years, what were the secrets to their long and happy marriage. One gem of wisdom was “you overlook at lot of little things and you forgive each other.”

Colossians 3:13 states Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NLT)

Forgiveness is not natural. It seems to be more natural to carry a grudge; to record all wrongs in read on a legal pad in our minds; to think of ways of getting back at those who hurt us.

Yet the Bible is clear in its instruction. As we have experienced forgiveness from God we are to forgive others.

The Spanish have a story about a father and son who became estranged. The son left home, and the father later set out to find him. He searched for months with no success. Finally, in desperation, the father turned to the newspaper for help. His ad simply read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father.” On Saturday, eight hundred young men named Paco showed up looking for forgiveness and love from their estranged fathers.

Families today are filled with people who desperately long for reconciliation.

Some of you need to experience that kind of forgiveness from God. You can. God has sent out a letter of forgiveness – his name is Jesus. If you will receive him forgiveness will be yours.


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