When Steve Jobs’ passed from this earth a page on Apple’s site read, “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”
Steve Jobs. 1955 to 2011.
During the HSLDA conference in Branson, Missouri, last September, I listened to a speaker by the name of Arnold Pent III talk about “faith.” He began by reciting the entire book of Hebrews 11 beginning with one of my favourite passages, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
A man now in his 70’s, with successful businesses in real estate, oil and energy, Arnold recounted the days of his youth and the legacy of faith his parents passed on to him. Hebrews 11 was only one of the many books of the Bible he and his siblings memorized as children. This was back in the 1950s.
Arnold Pent’s father instituted one very important thing in his home – that all his children would be saturated in the word of God. When he came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, Arnold’s father decided to walk away from his very successful cigar business, go into ministry and begin a fertilizer business. They didn’t have a lot of money. In fact, they were a travelling family, earning their money from place to place. But Arnold said they had, “the riches of faith.”
At 18, he wrote the book, Ten P’s in a Pod. It is the only book he ever wrote, but it is significant to the homeschooling community because it talks about his experience as a homeschooled child, together with his siblings. (Edric and I were so blessed to receive a free copy! I am looking forward to reading it.)
The first thing they did in the morning was wake up to read their Bible, have breakfast, followed by another hour and a half of scripture memorization. If the children said, “Dad, we don’t have time for more Bible,” Arnold’s father would say, “Then, we ought to skip breakfast.” (Wow, parents have certainly gotten much too soft over the years!)
The study of scripture was the only real education Arnold received as a child. His father decided that given the state of public education in America, it was imperative that his children be educated at home. And it was the greatest education they could have ever received.
I continued to listen intently as he shared the rest of his story. And it was this one point that really impacted me. “Live beyond your means.” He meant this in the spiritual sense. A life of faith that is surrendered to God and dependent on him experiences the greatest blessing.
Most people live under their means. Once again, this is spiritually speaking. What do I mean? I’ve been guilty of this. Many times I have believed that amassing wealth is necessary for security and a measure of happiness. My husband, Edric, and I have this joke between us that goes something like this, “Who says money can’t buy happiness when it can certainly buy a little bit of it?!” We’ve often said this when we are enjoying a family vacation, a good dinner, or the ability to buy something we like. And we can make the mistake of thinking that if we focus our efforts on making more money, the better off we will be. But, the greatest security I should have in this life is my personal relationship with God. God “will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:19)
I don’t need to worry about whether Edric and I will have enough to provide well for our children. If we continue to follow God and be faithful in our roles as husband and wife, in parenting our children to love him, in business practices, in ministry, and in our relationships with others, then we will experience a life beyond our means, courtesy of God himself!
As Arnold Pent closed his talk, he shared that his sons wrote him personal letters during his last birthday. These letters all read something like this, “Dad, thank you for saturating me in the word of God, for pushing me to memorize scripture and grow in faith. It was the greatest legacy you passed on to us.” This was probably the only time in his talk that Pent was moved to tears. And Edric and I started to tear, too, as we asked ourselves, what legacy are we passing on to our children?
Edric and I came away from that talk inspired to reemphasize the study of Scriptures with our kids and to be a family that truly lives by faith. And yes, to keep homeschooling so we can effectively do this!
Few can be like Steve Jobs, but guess what? God calls us to be so much more. The world praises Jobs for his legacy of genius, but the highest of all successes is a legacy of faith. I saw this in the Pent family – a family with a spiritual heritage of 5 generations and counting…