Biblical Lessons from Oma & Opa

On December 14, 2007, the Lord blessed me with the presence of my parents and grandparents in Fort Worth, Texas. They all traveled here to celebrate my graduation from Southwestern Seminary. I call my mother’s parents “Opa and Oma”, which is German for grandpa and grandma. After spending the weekend with them, there was no doubt that the Lord used them to teach and remind me of several biblical truths by observing their own concerns for the church and the Gospel-driven life. I will share a few of these lessons below.

1. The Concerns of the Community of Faith are Important. The Lord has continued to show me how often I must listen (and force myself to listen even when I don’t think I have the time to listen) to the concerns of the people in the broader community of faith. They are able to make observations that I am oblivious to at times being involved in a very fast-paced and rigorous academic setting. By listening to their concerns, and paying attention to their tears, I will be more equipped and attentive to the aims of the gracious gift of teaching [and biblical-theological education], namely, “to equip the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph 4:12-13).

2. Christians Must Reflect the Character of their God and Father by becoming Fathers to the Fatherless. My Oma serves as a mentor at the local Methodist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. There she met a first grade boy named Eric. She bought him a children’s Bible, and reads it to him often. He too reads it at home, where he lives with his mother, and always returns wanting to discuss it more with my Oma. Opa and Oma have also committed to this child’s discipleship not only during the week, but also by picking him up Sunday mornings and bringing him with them to Sunday School. Oma also cares for children during the week at the Ark, a safe home provided for children who have suffered from abusive parents or other severe family situations. Without question, they are being “imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1), for God himself is a “father to the fatherless” (Ps 68:5), and also shows this kind of love towards us in our adoption as sons (Eph 1:5). 

3. The Spiritual Well-Being of the Christian Community Means Patient, Enduring Labors accompanied with Diligent Prayer. There are many topics we discussed that need great (and immediate) attention in the contemporary church at large, some of which would mean a complete shift in the current worldview of several denominations (e.g. authority of Scripture; expositional preaching; needs for discipliship; reestablishing the Christian home; devotion to Christ’s Lordship, etc.). What I observed in my Oma and Opa was this: they were willing to patiently labor through the desperate situations their community of faith was in, and endure the challenging times ahead, in the prayerful hope that the Lord might use them to transform others’ lives. They not only say with the apostle Paul, “there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches” (2 Cor 11:28), but also live so as to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:2-3).

Thank you Opa and Oma for your diligent labors for the kingdom of God. I pray the Lord will continue to use you to help my theology grow hands and feet, to encourage others to become fathers to the fatherless, and to exemplify what it means, in Paul’s words, to endure all things for the sake of the elect.

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2 Responses to “Biblical Lessons from Oma & Opa”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Bret:

    Great observations from your visit with Opa and Oma. And the application goes beyond someone who is “involved in a very fast-paced and rigorous academic setting.” They are lessons that anyone who bears the name “Christian” should appropriate and incorporate.

    Congrats on your graduation. Saw the pics from the big day on Rachel’s blog.

    Merry Christmas to all the Rogers.

  2. Mom Says:

    Bret,

    I am one to whom Oma and Opa have labored over for many years. Their patience, love and faithful diligence continue to be living examples of Christ’s love in my life. For this I am humbly grateful.

    Love,
    Mom

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