Caught, Versus Taught


As fathers, what can we pass on to our sons for them to “catch” intentionally?

A few years ago, a small episode at a Bible study revealed to me the big picture of intentionally having other Godly men around my sons…and is the reason I vividly recall the night of that study.

I had been facilitating a men’s Bible study at a local pizza buffet.  There were about 14 men total. Each of us had gotten to know and trust each other and in subsequent previous meetings, share some remarkable things that the Lord had redeemed in our lives. I did not anticipate this particular week to be any different.  After finishing filling our stomachs, we dove into discussion.

Prior to this particular week’s study, we were to read Ecclesiastes.  We all had made notes of verses that spoke to us and why.  As the discussion carried, we went through each chapter and shared our thoughts and highlights.

When we reached the “conclusion of the matter”, and “fear God and keep his commandments”, we posed this question to one another: “What was something so important to you then, but now seems silly?”

All 14 men shared what was important to them when they were 16-36 years old.  Each one, now 36-56 years old, sheepishly told stories of how they chased girls and wanted to race cars.  Some talked about alcohol, others talked about gambling.  All talked about a desire for money.  Some shared how they’d chased fantasies trying to get rich, or how they had hoped to find satisfaction in various pleasures. Everyone in the room had a laugh about how smart we thought we were at that younger age, and how now it all seemed so “meaningless”.

Of the 14 men in the room, 11-12 were fathers.  It just so happened that this week, my friend Joe brought his son, Sterling.  At the end of our discussion on what stood out to us from Solomon’s wisdom, and the stories of what used to be important, I asked Sterling, “So what do you take from all this?” Sterling, a stout 14-year-old 8th grader said, (very seriously): “The only thing that matters is to know Jesus.  All this other stuff may be important to me now, or soon, but it’ll get old – Jesus won’t.”


No one sat with Sterling and explicitly “taught” him the notion that “everything is meaningless”, except Christ.  He “caught” it.  Sterling was simply sitting around other guys, listening to their stories.  He made their knowledge his own.  Hopefully he’s applying it now!

I can’t help but wonder… “How much did Jesus’ disciples ‘catch’ from Him?”

Eyes were exceedingly on him and urgency marked his mission. It is difficult to imagine him not “making the most of every opportunity because the days (were) evil.”

It seems so much was “caught” from Jesus that it left John knowing he couldn’t possibly get it all written down.  It’s almost with a giddy sigh he ends his Gospel account with, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

What can we pass on to our sons for them to intentionally “catch”?  Maybe one day they may not be able to write it all down!

By Chad Foster

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