Date Night at the movies! What a rare treat for Pastor Rick and his wife, Shannon! The couple with grown sons exercised veto power on most films due to ratings, subject matter, and their own lack of time juggling many programs at church. But the humorous new release with a well-known star and PG rating made it irresistible.
“Welcome! Enjoy the show!” Employee Wayne smiled as he tore the couple’s tickets and directed them to the right theatre. With only two theatre complexes in a thirty-five mile radius, Wayne recognized most movie-goers. Some came from 60 miles away. With a short-staff schedule, Wayne and other employees had at least four jobs. He couldn’t remember Rick and Shannon’s usual choice of movies, but from the audience’s laughter erupting from the theatre during that film, he thought they’d enjoy it.
But after Pastor Rick and Shannon worked their way through two buttered popcorns, cold drinks, advertisements, and previews, they settled in to watch the movie. The opening scene tracked a beach party with an abundance of enthusiasm, skin, and adult activities. It seemed to rival what had been written about the party the Israelites staged while Moses was up on Mt. Sinai getting God’s commandments. After five minutes, the film left much room for improvement. Pastor Rick and his wife trekked back to the lobby.
Wayne was now manning the snack bar, taking tickets, sweeping up popcorn, and getting ready to clean the restrooms. “What can I get you? More popcorn? Sodas? Candy?”
“No, we want our money back,” requested Pastor Rick.
Now the theatre employee remembered them! Wayne studied his watch, and then crossed his arms. After he checked the time, he announced, “I can’t do that.”
“Why not? I’ve only seen five minutes of the movie. I didn’t like it. I want you to call the manager. ”
“Today, I’m the manager, ticket taker, snack bar server, and janitor. You can’t get any higher than that. See, I remember you’ve been here before. You were five minutes into the movie this time. If it had been three, I could give you your money back. After five minutes, you cannot pass go and cannot get your money back. My decision is final!”
So was Pastor Rick’s. The husband and wife looked at each other and laughed. Wayne didn’t. Then Rick and Shannon left holding hands in their quest for another venue for Date Night.
Walking upright with the Lord takes a real man. Forget about popular signs of manhood: nice aftershave, owning a pick-up truck, opening doors for ladies, working hard, supporting a family, as well as remembering birthdays and anniversaries. It takes courage and commitment to submit to a life mentored by God. God decided that a man’s role is also to be the spiritual leader of a family.
As a father of three sons, Pastor Rick took his role seriously as the God-honoring leader in his family. While raising their children, he and Shannon modeled what they wanted to see in their sons’ choices in adulthood, challenges, and spiritual life and growth. Pastor Rick taught his congregation and his family from the Bible, and took to heart the passage, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 [NIV].
On Father’s Day, we honor men around the world for their important role in families – changing the future by shaping, teaching, and modeling character and integrity for children, whether their own or in their care as leaders. Add to that God’s take: There is nothing of higher value than a father who models and walks with His Creator. It takes courage to make big decisions as well as small ones – like taking a stand on what makes good entertainment on a Date Night.
Many blessings on you guys out there who know how to be fathers to your and others’ children. Happy Father’s Day! God bless you all!
[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, buttontogod.dev. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]