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There are two ways that fathers teach. First, they teach with their lips. Every father uses his lips to instruct his children about right and wrong. The second way that a father teaches is with his life.
Corrie Ten Boom, in her book, In My Father's House, once recounted a lesson her father taught her with his life. At the time, Corrie was a young woman working with her father as an apprentice watchmaker in Holland. Their house was attached to their shop and every morning after breakfast she would make her way through the door of the kitchen into the shop to begin work.
It was a time of financial hardship for the family. In fact, they had a large bill that was many months overdue. Corrie had been praying for weeks with her father that God would provide the money to pay off the bill.
One morning a very wealthy man from the community entered the shop. He asked Corrie's father to show him several of the most expensive watches in the store. There was one in particular that caught his eye. Corrie was silently praying that God would prompt the man to buy the watch so they could pay their debt.
The man put the watch down on the counter and pulled out a large roll of bills. She could not believe that anyone would carry that much cash. He counted off the bills to Corrie's father and she was silently thanking God for His provision. Her prayers had been answered!
As her father was putting the money into the register, the gentlemen asked her father, "Did you know Mr. Van Houten? He was my watchmaker for years."
"Yes, I knew him," replied Mr. Ten Boom."He was a fine craftsman. His death has been a real loss to his family. But his son has taken over for his father."
"Yes, I realize that. I actually bought a very fine timepiece from his son, but it wouldn't keep time. I took it to him three times for repair and he could never get it right."
"Do you have it with you?" asked Ten Boom.
"Yes," said the man and he pulled it out of his pocket.
Mr. Ten Boom took the watch and opened up the case. He made a small adjustment and then said to the gentlemen, "I think that will fix the problem. It was just a small mistake. It should work just fine for you now. Sir, I know that young man, and he is a fine watchmaker. I believe that he is just as good as his father. I think it would encourage him if you would buy your new watch from him instead of me."
The man was shocked at the suggestion of Corrie's father. And so was Corrie!
"Sir, this young man has had a very difficult time without his father. But he will learn. If you have a problem with any of his watches, just bring them to me and I will make sure the problem is corrected. Please allow me to give you back your money. I think it would be best if you bought the watch from the young man."
The startled man took his money and made his way out the door.
Corrie looked at her father and then glanced at the nearly empty cash register, which had been full just a moment before.
"How could you do such a thing?" she asked her father.
"Corrie, you know that I brought the gospel at the burial of Mr. Van Houten."
Of course I remembered. It was Father's job to speak at the burials of the watchmakers in Haarlem. He was greatly loved by his colleagues and was also a very good speaker; he always used the occasion to talk about the Lord Jesus.
Father often said that people are touched by
eternity when they have seen someone dying.
That is an opportunity we should use to tell
about Him who is willing to give eternal life.
"Corrie, what do you think that young man would have said when he heard that one of his good customers had gone to Mr. Ten Boom? Do you think the name of the Lord would be honored? There is blessed money and there is cursed money. Trust the Lord. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He will take care of us."
Corrie had a father whose God wasn't money. His God was Jesus Christ. He taught his daughter a lesson that morning that stayed with her for the next sixty years. He taught her not only by his words but by his actions.
HOPE FROM MY HEART
10 Lessons for Life
By RICH DEVOS
Edited by Jenny Baumgartner
Copyright © 2000 Richard M. DeVos. All rights reserved.