It was a sunny afternoon in July and Papa Frank stopped by to see Jackson, Jasmine, and Jackson. They had been to the beach and had just gotten home. Momma had just given each of them a shower to get rid of all the salt and sand and was getting them ready for nap. Of course, nap was not a favorite thing and they were complaining bitterly.
When Papa came to the door, Matthew, greeted him. “Hey, Dad, come on in. Is Mom out shopping again?”
“Her and her shopping; she’s getting her nails done too. I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Women are always worrying about nails, make-up, new clothes all the time. I’ve been wearing this same pair of jeans for … oh I don’t know, three years now.” said Papa Frank.
Matt chuckled; Teresa is the same way, when we have the money. I think it is some sort of urge women are born with.”
“Daddy! Daddy! Do we have to take a nap?” cried Jasmine as she ran out from the bathroom all clean and refreshed from her shower. “I’m not sleepy and if you make me go to bed I will be very sad. “
“Hi Papa Frank”
“Hi Princess “Papa Frank responded. “Did you have fun at the beach?”
“Oh, yes, Daddy and I built a sand castle but then my brother runed it; and we went in the water. I stepped on a star fish, I did not like that so Daddy threw it in deeper water. We saw little fish swimming and then a heli…helichopper came and told everyone to get out of the water because there was a shark! We waited and waited but Mommy and Daddy said we had to come home.” Jasmine said.
“Well it sounds like you had a wonderful day.” replied Papa Frank.
“Yeah, but it’s nap time and I hate nap time! It’s not fair! I’m not sleepy, I don’t want a nap!”
Momma was just walking out of the bathroom with a very fussy Jackson who also did not want a nap and said, “Now you know tonight is the first night of Vacation Bible School. You want to be ready for that, don’t you?”
“Oh, Yes Mama! We are going to King Solomon’s Court tonight!” Jasmine was jumping up and down with excitement. “Is my shirt ready? Did you finish my special hat?”
“Everything is already,” Momma assured them, “and you need your nap so you can have fun in King Solomon’s Court tonight. Remember, we are learning about being wise.”
“What’s wise, Daddy?” Jackson looked up at his dad, yawning.
“Well son being wise is knowing how to make the right decision even when you really want to do something else that seems to be more fun. Having wisdom is very hard unless you look to God and know His Word. We are not wise, but we can be wise by reading the Bible.”
Papa Frank had been listening to this. He was quiet for a minute and then, in a soft voice said, “You know, it’s my naptime too. But all this talk about being wise has made me remember a time when I wasn’t very wise.
“When was that, Dad?” asked Matt, sitting down with Jackson in his lap. Jasmine clapped and scrambled on the couch to get close to Papa Frank. Teresa just shook her head and sat down too, knowing the story would come before the nap.
Well, when I was younger I was in the Air Force….
“Did you fly those big fast planes, Papa?” asked Jasmine.
“No, Princess, I never piloted any planes, I did other stuff.
It was in 1971, before even your dad was born, the Air Force sent me to work in a country called Turkey.”
Jasmine giggled, “You lived in a bird?”
“No, Princess, it was a country like the United States where we live is a country.”
“Well, it sure has a funny name.” countered Jasmine.
“I’ll agree with you there, Princess,” chuckled Papa Frank.
“Well, what about this story about wisdom?” Teresa said.
“Turkey had a lot of people living there who did not like Americans or people who believed different from them. They wanted to shoot Americans.”
“That’s mean, Papa. Didn’t Jesus say we have to love each other?”
“Yes, Princess, but not everyone believes in Jesus and these people did not. The Air Force told us we should not walk around the city alone so when we left our base, a whole bunch of us would go. One night, we went to a place to have dinner and some fun. We had a really good dinner and I was having such a good time I did not notice how late it got and did not pay attention to the group I was with.
After a while, I looked around and the people I came with had gone home, I was alone. I had no choice but to go home alone. That was very stupid. I should have paid attention to what the rest of the group was doing. “
Jackson was curled in Dad’s lap, he had fallen asleep. Jasmine was struggling to keep her eyes open; she wanted to hear the rest of the story and why Papa said he had been stupid. She was not even allowed to say that word!
“The Air Force let me live in the city and I had to walk five or six blocks to get to my apartment from where the club. I put my head down and walked as fast as I could. I wanted to get home and be safe. Suddenly I heard a car coming up behind me. It didn’t go passed me just stayed going really slow behind me. I figured it was those people who wanted to kill Americans. I thought they were going to shoot me and I got ready to run. I knew I was going to be shot, probably eventually killed and at first I was really scared, then something happened I decided They would have to kill me, they would never take me alive. So I took one quick look behind me before I took off running and saw it was a sport’s car, a Mustang. I knew that terrorists did not drive Mustangs and it turned out to be someone dropping off their friend. But I had gotten myself so worked up thinking I was going to get shot that my knees got weak and I couldn’t walk too well.”
Jasmine, despite all her efforts had fallen asleep while in the cradle of Papa’s arms.
Papa looked down at her, “Looks like an angel, doesn’t she?”
Matt looked over at his daughter fondly, then at his father. “I seem to remember that story, Dad. Your point about wisdom was a good one. You should have paid attention to your group.”
“That’s right, Matt,” responded Papa. If I had learned my Bible I would have learned I can have fun and stay safe at the same time. Solomon even talked about it in Ecclesiastes.”
“That’s right,” responded Matt. “It’s in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, a time for everything.”
“That’s right, son. As I recall, pretty much all of proverbs is about wisdom too.”
“Well, we will have a whole week to talk about it in VBS and around the table at dinner. Don’t forget, dinner is early this week because of VBS.”
“I’ll remind your mother, see if she wants to eat early when she isn’t working.”
“Good idea, Dad. Hey, thanks for helping get the kids down for a nap.”
Papa laughed softly. “Well, my stories are good for something!”
“Oh, Frank, they are great! “ said Teresa.
“Well, let’s get these young’uns to bed. I’m ready for a nap too!”
Proverbs 4:5-9 (NIV)
Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.
Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 (NIV)
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
*When fear is used in this way it means respect.