In far northern Wisconsin, in a small town, in a café that used to be someone’s house, early on a crisp fall morning, the phone rang. The server answered it and called out, “Does anyone know how to tie a necktie?”
Brian looked around and after a few seconds of silence spoke up, “I do.” The waitress spoke to the person on the phone, hung up, and went back to work. We had no idea why someone would call a restaurant with that question but we soon found out.
A young man in his late teens came in carrying a necktie. He was well over six feet tall, and wore a clean pair of jeans and a pressed plaid shirt. The waitress pointed him toward Brian; he walked over and asked Brian to help him tie his tie.
Brian, being a Human Resources manager, asked if he was going to a job interview. The young man said that his grandmother had passed away and her funeral was that morning. Before she died, she told him she wanted him to wear a tie to her funeral. He wanted to keep his promise, but he didn’t know how to tie a tie.
Standing in front of the young man who was grieving the passing of his grandmother, Brian tied the tie. Brian stood back to take a look – the tie was not long enough. It had probably been purchased for the young man’s Jr. High School graduation and was too short.
After untying and retying it, (and trying his best to hide the very short tail behind the front of the tie), Brian hugged the young man, patted him on the back, and told him his grandmother would have been very proud of how he looked in his tie.
When we left the café a few minutes later our route took us right past the little church where the funeral was. About a dozen men in casual clothes milled about outside the church and one tall proud young man wore the only necktie there.
A long time ago men wore neckties – and hats – every day. There was a time when both the top and bottom racks of Brian’s tie rack were filled! Now it’s almost empty…
The business culture changed; casual Fridays became casual weekdays, and now almost no one wears a tie anymore. Soon, tie racks will show up in antique stores and people will say, “My dad had one of those!” One generation is all it takes for a seeming necessity to become unnecessary.
One generation is all it takes for Christianity to become obsolete as well; if we don’t teach our children, who will teach our grandchildren?
“Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. These instructions are not empty words – they are your life!” – Deut 32:46NLT
As the culture changes and people decide that the Bible is too formal, too hard, too restrictive, or too old-fashioned, will they also decide that Christianity is unnecessary? Will someone see a Bible in an antique store and say, “My dad had one of those!”?
It’s not enough to simply teach the Bible to our children; we must wear our faith as an example.
“In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” – Titus 2:6-7NLT
Like the grandmother who wanted her grandson to experience wearing a tie, we must help our children and grandchildren experience God! We must share with them what it is like when we see God’s hand in our lives. We must talk about God. We must share God with them, not just His Word.
“Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.” – Deut 4:9, NLT
It took a lot of courage for the young man in Wisconsin to show up at his grandmother’s funeral with a tie on. He did it because he loved and respected his grandmother.
What are you doing to encourage the next generation to stand boldly and courageously against the culture? What will you do to impart a love of God to them? How are you living your faith as an example they might want follow?