II Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
Prov. 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty
II Thessalonians 3:8 we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
My dad, Richard F. “Rick” Williams, was a living example of Paul’s admonitions recorded in II Thessalonians when he commanded them (and us) to “mind your own business and work with your hands.” And for my benefit, when he thought it was fitting, dad would remind me of Paul’s further instruction, “if a man is not willing to work, neither shall he eat”. Well, he fed me pretty well, and I was expected to remember that when it came time to mow the grass or wash the family car.
Dad was often called “Big Rick”, and was big in my eyes even after “Little Rick”, (me) was his size and a bit more. As a boy, during the Sabine River Flood ’66 I watched him work with all his might to save our school’s custodian’s possessions from the river’s rising water. Mr. Shoemake lived in a small ramshackle house much too near the river and was about to lose what little he had. But, using our old aluminum river boat, its small outboard and a rope, dad tugged each of Mr. Shoemake’s cows across deep water to higher ground, and ferried his few valuable possessions to our waiting pickup truck as the water invaded the little house and covered all the land in sight.
It was dangerous and hard work, but hard work Dad was used to. As butcher, truck driver, mechanic, wood worker, and welder-fabricator, he never found an easy way to make a living, but he never failed to make one and was always a good provider. As he got older, he continued to work hard but gave away more of his earnings to those who he thought might need them more than he did.
In his seventies, dad could be found cutting firewood for an “elderly” lady who lived a few miles out in the country and warmed her little home with a wood burning heater. I was still eating well, though not at his table, and dad would draft me to help with splitting and stacking the firewood for her, all completely free, but providing very good exercise for us both.
Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” My dad didn’t talk that much, was not a preacher or even a bible school teacher, but he taught by example and following his example his two sons never had to worry about poverty. Both have made more money than he did, but it was dad who taught us how to work. He showed us how to be a man and not just talk about doing something, but to actually go out and do it.
Since his last ten years were spent working with me, in our family business, my sons were also exposed to his amazing example. Dad could tolerate semi-retirement, if his time off involved a good deal of fishing, and could get as much done in a half a work week as younger men would do full time.
Now, just like my father, I believe that when we learn to work, and learn the value of working, God makes it as enjoyable as any other part of life. All work is good, whether as a custodian or a company president. There is great value in “doing what our hand’s find to do” and doing it “with all your might”. (Ecclesiates 9:10).
Teaching this to my sons was made infinitely easier by the example set by their grandfather, and we were all blessed to be close to him, and for his long and productive life which we all believe was greatly extended because he had a reason to get up each morning. He had work to do, to provide for his family and to serve God and His children. And he also enjoyed working so he could put gas in his thirty year old fishing boat and the equally old truck that towed it to the lakes and rivers of northeast Texas.
Now it is my turn to set that same example for my sons and grandsons, for this is one lesson that must be taught by doing more than talking. And it is a matter of setting the right example, not of just being a “workahaulic”, providing the material things in life, but not taking the time to be a real father, an involved and caring father, and faithful servant of the Father of us all.
Perhaps it is your turn, too. I know there is not a much more important job in this world for me than succeeding at this task. And following my dad’s example, I intend to do just that for my two sons and four grandsons, leaving a continuing legacy that they too will be a part of. Thanks, Dad, for showing me how.
Rick Williams is a hard working guy. He met his wife in College and married her after graduation and built their house (with his own hands) while launching a small sign business that’s grown into two commercial enterprises — Rick’s Sign Co and WPC Services. He’s been a writer for Sign and Digital Business Magazine for 25+ years and a Column writer for National Business Media since its first issue in 1986.
He works alongside his two grown sons who have sons of their own. First and foremost Rick is a Christian. He serves as a Church elder and teaches a growing Senior’s class.