Medley of Tributes, Part 2
About the Guest
Let it not be said of us that we've forgotten a direct command of God. The collection continues with tributes from Sharon Jaynes, Max Lucado, R.V. Brown and others pulled from the archives.
Let it not be said of us that we’ve forgotten a direct command of God.
Medley of Tributes, Part 2
Bob: When you think about your relationship with your parents, is your heart filled with gratitude or bitterness? Here’s author and speaker, Sammy Tippet.
Sammy: One day, I was having my quiet time. The Lord spoke to me and said: “Sammy, the problem’s not with your mom. The problem’s with you. You have been an ungrateful son; and you have never once said, ‘Thank you, Mom, for your sacrifice.’” So, I called her on the phone. I said, “Mom, I need to ask your forgiveness for something.” I told her that the Lord had spoken to me in my quiet time. Then she said, “Sammy, I cannot tell you how much this means to me.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, March 21st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today about the importance of having a heart of gratitude when we think about our parents. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You don’t know this—but out in the other room, where our engineer Keith sits and records these FamilyLife Today radio programs—whenever, near the end of a radio program, he hears you say, “And I have one more assignment for you.” [Laughter] And you’ve said that a few times on the programs.
Dennis: Twenty-one years of broadcasting—I’ve turned to more than one guest and said, “I have this assignment.”
Bob: Yes; and whenever you do that, Keith starts making a sound effect—he goes, [Sounding like a telegraph] “Too, too-too, too-too, too, too, too,” because you’re telegraphing, for the listener, what is coming up at the end of the program—
Dennis: “He’s asking people to give a tribute and, really, in part, fulfill the fifth commandment.”
Bob: One of the reasons why you ask this question at the end of many of these programs is because there’s a life message. We’ve been talking about it this week—
something you’ve spoken on over and over again—and that is the need to fulfill the fifth commandment—which you call “the forgotten commandment”—to honor your father and mother.
Twenty years ago, you wrote a book about that subject. It is being re-released in a 20th Anniversary Edition. It’s called The Forgotten Commandment. Before we’re done today, I’ll let our listeners know how they can get a copy of the new 20th Anniversary Edition because there’s a whole new generation of people who need to meditate on what it means to honor your father and your mother.
Dennis: Yes, and we’re going to start the broadcast off today with one of my favorites—I cry every time I hear this tribute—it was our friend, Harvey Brown. You’re going to hear a great tribute of a dad who lived to be over a hundred, who—I don’t think he could read or write—
Bob: No, Harvey talks about that in this tribute, and his dad had the nickname Fish. He was called Willy Fish Brown.
Dennis: Daddy Fish is what Harvey calls him. [Laughter]
[Previously Recorded Tribute]
Daddy Fish, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart—first of all, for loving my mama. And then secondly, for loving me, and kissing me, and rubbing my little round head—telling me to go to school and, “Everything’s going to be okay.” And then Dad, I want to thank you for taking me fishing, July 6, 1959, for the first time.
And then I want to just tell you what an awesome leader you were. With no education, Dad, you taught me. You educated me how to love—Dad, thank you for teaching me to farm, to take care of the people, and share whatever I have with all the people. Dad, I’m the kind of man I am today because of who you are, Dad.
Thank you for loving Mama. Thank you for the leadership and authority in which you raised us.
Thank you for the discipline. Most of all, Father, I want to thank you for that hug, and that kiss, and that rub on my little round head, and saying, “You’re going to be okay, son.”
Dad, I love you.
Bob: That is Harvey Brown with an impromptu tribute to his dad.
Dennis: There’s so many good things wrapped up in that little story right there—just a reminder of the power of a daddy; and for that matter, the power of a mom.
Bob: We had Sharon Jaynes joins us as a guest on FamilyLife Today. A lot of our listeners know her as an author / a speaker. We asked her to give a tribute to her mom. She told us, during the interview, that the home she grew up in was a difficult home—her dad drank a lot. So, these words of honor to her mother were profound and significant.
[Previously Recorded Tribute]
Mom, I do want to just thank you right now for all that you did for me. I’ve seen how you worked every day, from nine to five, and then you came home and you cooked dinner for us. You tried to give us as much love you could with the struggles you had with Dad.
I thank you, Mom, that you were diligent and that you didn’t give up. It would have been so easy for you to leave Dad, and to leave us, and to get away from it all; but you didn’t. I really appreciate how you stood with Dad, when that must have been so difficult, after all that you went through; but you were diligent. You stayed with him because you knew that was—was the right thing to do.
I appreciate that example of a wife who sticks by her husband that you showed me. And I appreciate, more than anything, how you have let God use your past, and how you have let Him use you as a beacon for you, and that you’re now being that beacon, standing on the shore, that are pointing other people to Jesus Christ.
I appreciate, most of all, how you’re letting me share our lives with other people to encourage moms. Thank you, Mom, for doing that for me, and for loving me, and for being my best friend now.
Bob: Well again, that is Sharon Jaynes, sharing a tribute that she offered to her mom when she was a guest on FamilyLife Today.
You know what was interesting—we had our friend, Max Lucado, join us right after he had written a book on grace. In that interview, he mentioned that your book—on the forgotten commandment—about writing a tribute—was a book that God had used in his own life. It ties in to this message of grace because, when we offer a tribute, we’re giving grace to our moms and our dads; aren’t we?
Dennis: Yes, there are a lot of our listeners, right now—as they listen to these tributes, it’s painful. They can’t imagine doing it—and to go back and revisit some of those memories just seems counter-productive.
Bob: You did not ask Max to give a tribute to his parents, but you did ask him if there had ever been someone who had put the principle of grace and forgiveness to the test in his life.
[Previously Recorded Interview]
Max: My mother and I had two different philosophies of life; and boy, did we butt heads. I look back; and I still think, “Why did she punish me for doing that?” or, “Why didn’t she encourage me more?” I’ve had to work it through. Here’s what I learned about my mother, though.
Number one, I became a Christian when I was 20 years of age. I began realizing, “I’m supposed to forgive my mom,” even though she and I have never gotten along. I never went to my mom and said, “Mom, you are not a good mom, and I’m going to forgive you for not being a good mom.” For two reasons—number one, she was a good mom—in the sense that she provided for me, and she loved me, and she did care for me.
Max: What helped me, though—and your book was part of this, Dennis—I don’t think I’ve ever told you that. What helped me was understanding her childhood. She grew up in a cotton field that her dad leased—I mean, dirt farmers—and then he died when she was ten. Her mother remarried a man who didn’t really love her. It was a tough, tough upbringing—right in the middle of the Depression.
When I began to understand her upbringing, no wonder she’s so—I don’t know, resistant and kind of hard toward people. She’s been hurt! She grew up in a hard, hard situation. Understanding what she went through, I thought, “If I had grown up in that, I would not have been the quality of woman that she is.” That really helped me. I guess I say that to say that: “Sometimes, we have to understand where a person has come from. That helps us on the path of forgiveness.”
Bob: Well again, that’s Max Lucado when he was a guest on FamilyLife Today.
Dennis: I think the message for the listeners is—the fifth commandment invites you into a process—where you move toward honor / taking honor home to your parents—even if it seems almost impossible.
There is a God; and He delights in doing impossible things—and healing wounds that, perhaps, had been decades in the making. Maybe, you just need to begin to pray about: “God, what would You have me to do?”
This next tribute, Bob, from my friend, Dr. Robert Lewis, is entitled “Here’s to My Imperfect Family.”
Bob: Robert wrote this tribute long before you wrote your book on honoring your parents—on the forgotten commandment. You had been with the speakers, who speak at our FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. Robert and his wife Sherard spoke at our getaways. You challenged these speakers to write a tribute of honor to their parents. You didn’t have any idea, when you offered that challenge, of the home Robert had grown up in.
Dennis: I didn’t. Robert’s dad was an alcoholic—he was abusive to his mom. There’s a lot more to this story, but Robert did the unthinkable. He took honor home, and he honored his dad. I want our listeners to kind of hear—just hear the power of a family, even when it’s horribly broken.
Bob: Here is Dr. Robert Lewis.
[Previously Recorded Tribute]
“Here’s to My Imperfect Family”
When I think of family, I think first of you, Mom and Daddy. I will never understood the forces that drew or held you together all these years. Clearly, it has not been easy; but then again, I have now learned that few marriages are. Each carries its own crucible.
Reflecting back, as one of your three sons, it’s not hard to say that our family was less than perfect—the imperfect family would be a much more descriptive term for our home.
To be sure, we never had enough or did enough together. We fell short of many ideals; but those things have little, if any, hold on me now. Instead, I frequently recall particular things that are now forever embedded within me—things that need to be stated in writing—for they are the secret successes of my imperfect family.
I am glad that you never divorced. Today, I do not think of a way out because you never got out. My children know about divorce from their friends but not from their family. They will grow up caring permanency in marriage—in their heritage. Though that, in itself, will not ensure success for them, it will help as it has helped me.
I am more appreciative than ever for your sacrificial involvement and investment in me. I will never know them all, as my children will never know of mine.
But I do know some—your presence at my school programs and Little League games is one. Responding to late-night fever, and upset stomachs, and crises like the chicken-bone affair—caught in the throat of a frightened third-grader. I needed you, Mom, and you were there.
I also remember the genuine compassion I received after being brokenhearted that I stood and watched, rather than starred, in my first organized football game. The hours you expended—talking with me, exploring and surfacing my thoughts, and feelings, and ambitions. How that helped!
I think of fishing at Keppler’s Lake with Daddy. Boy!—was that fun! I still enjoy every time I relive it. And through your help for a young black boy, named James, I have a deeper social consciousness towards those not like me.
Thanks, Daddy, for saying, “I’m sorry,” when you wrongfully hit me in anger one day.
You don’t remember the incident, I know; but I do. It’s deep inside me now, and it comes back to me every time I need to say those words to my children and my wife. Seeing that day in my mind makes that humbling process easier.
I owe both of you a thousand “Thank yous,” for Florida vacations at the Driftwood Lodge, for all the oysters that I could eat at my birthday, for the constant encouragement during teenage years, for teaching me about inner toughness. I can still hear it: “If you can’t take it, you can always quit.” Dad—I remember those words.
For struggling—in December to give Christmas its real meaning—Mom—I get the picture now—for teaching Sunday school at Trinity—for traveling to all those ball games—for standing behind me when I turned LSU down. For saying, “I love you,” because I needed to hear it.
For the new car in college—I know some of how that must have hurt, now. For not panicking when it seemed your son had become a religious fanatic. For letting me know the financial ride was over after college, and I was on my own. For not getting too involved in shaping my direction.
There is much more, of course, much more. I guess, if I were offered one wish, it would be for one crisp fall evening, with the smell of burning leaves, and the Bearcat game in the air. I would be outside enjoying the bliss of youthful innocence. Mom, you would be frying those oysters; and Daddy, you would be calling out for my pet dog, Toddy.
So here’s to my imperfect family—one that fell short in many respects, but one whose love makes the shortcomings easy to forget. Here’s to the family that never had it all together—but one just perfect enough for me.
Bob: That is Dr. Robert Lewis, writing a tribute to his mom and his dad—his imperfect family. To hear him reading that aloud—
Bob: —it touches something really deep inside every one of us; doesn’t it?
Dennis: It does. We all come from families. I just think it just points out the power of a family, even in a broken state. It shows that God can use them, and knit together people who end up loving each other, even though they’ve done one another, perhaps, some harm.
There’s one last story today that I want our listeners to hear—that is really powerful. It’s by Sammy Tippet.
It’s really how God brought honor, and then forgiveness and grace—and how God ultimately—not only healed Sammy’s relationship with his mom—but ultimately, had his mom come to faith in Christ.
[Previously Recorded Interview]
Sammy: With my mom, there was a turning point that I saw with her. One day, I was having my quiet time. The Lord spoke to me and said: “Sammy, the problem’s not with your mom. The problem’s with you. The problem is this—that you have been an ungrateful son. Your mother raised you. She had a hard life. She got up early in the morning, worked till late in the evening, came home, and took care of you kids. You have never once said, ‘Thank you, Mom, for your sacrifice.’ Here you are—you became a Christian. You’ve done all these things, and you’ve never told her that.”
Dennis: You were how old, at this point?
Sammy: I’m married. I’m in my late 20s—so it’s been about 10 years since I’ve been a Christian.
Sammy: So, the Lord just spoke to me—and said, “I need to call my mom and ask forgiveness.”
So, I called her on the phone. I said, “Mom, I need to ask your forgiveness for something.” I told her what the Lord spoke to me in my quiet time. There was silence. I didn’t know what she was going to say because she’s a pretty tough lady. Then she said, “Sammy, I cannot tell you how much this means to me.—
Sammy: —“This means more than you will ever know.”
Now, she did not give her heart to Christ. It was close to 15 years later after that; but from that point forward, I could talk about Jesus in front of her. Before that time, I couldn’t mention the name of Jesus—couldn’t mention God, couldn’t mention what we were doing. I mean, I had to stay away from that subject; but from that point on, it was different.
Something happened. There was a barrier that was broken—and it was with me, having to, first of all—I was praying for: “God, change Mom—change Mom.” Really, the more I prayed for Mom to be changed, the Spirit of God was tenderizing my heart to say, “Hey, the problem is not with your Mom; it’s with you.”
You know? So, God did that work in me. Then, as that happened—over the years, all the bitterness began to fall off. She began to be more open and more open; until one day, she said, “I need God.”
Bob: Dennis, you’ve written on that very theme that Sammy’s talking about—encouraging adult children to honor their parents—to ask for forgiveness / to speak encouraging words. You’ve heard stories like that over and over again.
Sammy: Let me share with you a word on that—that tribute—because I heard about that. The Lord spoke to me about writing a tribute to my mom; and I wrote a tribute to her, and gave it to her as a Christmas present. Four weeks later, she died. She was diagnosed two weeks after I gave her that Christmas present—she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Just three weeks after the diagnosis, she died.
Dennis: Did you read that tribute to her?
Sammy: I read it to her; and I gave it to her, personally.
She just wept. I was so thankful that I was able to do that. At the time, didn’t know that she was going to be diagnosed with cancer—she was going to die—that I was able to do that before her death.
And I was very honest in it, you know. I said: “Mom, we’ve had some rough times together, but I want you to know what.” I told her what she had imparted to me that had been such a blessing, and how I appreciated her, and thank God for her. She hung it up right in the living room. Of course, I grew up in a fairly poor family. There wasn’t much hanging up; but that was hanging up there—right in the center of the living room—whenever she died.
Bob: Well, that is Sammy Tippet sharing about the tribute that he wrote for his mom. You know—it meant “No regrets,” Dennis.
Dennis: It did. It makes me want to run down the hall to my office and get the tribute I wrote my mom. We only have one mom. There’s something powerful—in the hearts being cemented together—and something wonderful / something delightful when you attempt—just attempt to return a fragment of honor back home to the people who gave you life, even if they made a lot of mistakes. It’s just the right thing to do.
Bob: I know our listeners may be thinking: “I could not do that. I hear these other people, but there’s just too much you don’t know.”
Dennis: I’ve probably had folks say that to me two/three hundred times—I mean, a lot—“I could never do that!” And yet, I didn’t write the fifth commandment. I’m just giving folks an idea of how they can, perhaps, consider the fifth commandment—and perhaps take honor back to their mom and dad.
I guess I go back to “No regrets,” Bob. If you live long enough, and if your parents aren’t already gone, someday you’ll stand over a casket. Eulogies are fine—to honor people after they’ve died—I think that’s appropriate—a life needs to be honored—but it’s so much better to bring those roses of honor, while they’re alive, and deliver the fragrance of gratitude back home.
Bob: Dennis would like to come to your house and talk to you about that—
Bob: —but, obviously, he can’t; so instead, we’d like to send you a copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition of his book, The Forgotten Commandment: Experience the Power of Honoring Your Parents. It’s just now arrived, here at FamilyLife. You’ll be one of the first to get a copy of this book when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and order from us, online.
Again, the website: FamilyLifeToday.com; or order by phone at 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”—1-800-FL-TODAY—that’s 1-800-358-6329.
Now, one of the things we are grateful for, here, during the month of March, is that we have started to hear from some of our listeners, all across the country, who have gotten in touch with us and have said: “You know what? We are regular listeners. We appreciate the program. From time to time, we have made donations; but we’ve decided that it’s time for us to join with the team of Legacy Partners that help support FamilyLife Today on a monthly basis.”
We have thousands of families, right now, who are Legacy Partners and provide monthly donations to support this ministry; but the truth is, the cost of producing and syndicating this program exceeds the funds we receive from our Legacy Partners. So, our hope this month, and our prayer, has been that God might raise up 20 new Legacy Partners in each state where FamilyLife Today is heard.
That would give us a thousand new Legacy Partners and would provide us with a healthy foundation of support for the ministry, as we go forward in 2014. Some of you have responded to that—thank you for getting in touch with us. We’d like to ask anyone, who is a regular listener, to prayerfully consider becoming a Legacy Partner.
When you do, we’ll send you a welcome kit that has some CDs in it. It has a book with some date ideas for couples, and it has the brand-new Legacy Partner Cookbook, with recipes from Legacy Partners, all across the country, including some recipes from our team, here in Little Rock.
You can become a Legacy Partner by going to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I CARE,” and enroll online; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “I want to become a Legacy Partner.” We’ll get you signed up over the phone.
“Thanks,” in advance, for considering becoming a Legacy Partner. Please pray for us—that we would have a thousand new Legacy Partners joining us during the month of March.
With that, we’ve got to wrap things up for this week. Thanks for being with us. Hope you and your family can worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday. Dr. Wayne Grudem is going to be our guest. We’re going to talk about the issue of poverty—worldwide poverty: “What can families do?” We’ll explore that question Monday. Hope you can tune in.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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