The Living Years — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

The Living Years — Morning Devotions

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being - Genesis 2:7

By Chris WittsThursday 11 Jul 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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If you’re a music lover, you’ll know the name Mike Rutherford, who was born in 1950. He became a popular rock and roll celebrity with the group Genesis and then Mike and the mechanics. He enjoyed international success and sold millions of records around the world. But there’s an interesting story about him that goes back to 1986. He was touring the US when he took a 3 a.m. phone call – his father, Crawford, in the UK, had died.

Mike flew home to join the family and attend the funeral, and then he resumed the tour back in Los Angeles. His father had been a captain in the Royal Navy fighting in World War II, and had spent a lot of time away from the family. He was an absent father, and he and his son, Mike never communicated much and didn’t have much in common.

But Mike Rutherford realised he was like his father, spending much time away from his own children. One day, he discovered his late father’s memoirs and saw a softer side of his father, and he was moved by how much his dad had supported his own musical ambitions.

He was just too busy to notice, and Mike Rutherford’s big regret was that he hadn’t told his father how much he loved him. This is what he said. “My relationship with my father was a little troubled in the early days, but he was incredibly supportive. It’s hard to imagine how he must have viewed it because he had nothing to compare it to. We were the first generation of rock and roll musicians, but he wanted to understand it.” And then Mike Rutherford met up with Brian Robertson, a fellow musician, and they both had something in common. They had lost their fathers around the same time and together they wrote the popular song The Living Years. It was a number one hit in Australia in 1989. You might recognise it.

How are you spending the living years given to you?

It’s a beautiful song of regret about fathers and sons who don’t spend enough time together. And one verse says, “I wasn’t there that morning When my father passed away. I didn’t get to tell him all the things that I had to say. I think I caught his spirit later that same year. I’m sure I heard his echo in my baby’s newborn tears. I just wish I could have told him in the living years.”

Now I like that phrase the living years. It makes me think, how are you spending the years given to you? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised how quickly time is moving on, and I’ve lost a lot of friends and acquaintances that I knew over the years, and many have died doing the right things, like exercising and eating a proper diet, both can help you live a long and healthier life. But the ultimate goal is not just to live longer but to enjoy and find meaning in life. And that means placing more emphasis on quality of life.

Carl Lewis is one of the greatest athletes of all time. He won nine Olympic gold medals and set world records in field and track events. At his father’s funeral in 1987 Carl Lewis placed his 100 metre gold medal from the 84 Olympics in his father’s hands. His mother was quite surprised. He said. I’ll get another medal. And a year later, in the 1988 games, Carl Lewis competed against the Canadian, A world record holder, Ben Johnson, in the 100 metre race. Halfway through the race, Johnson was 5 ft in front. Lewis was convinced he could catch him, but at 80 metres he was still 5 ft behind. It’s over, he thought, and as Ben Johnson crossed the finish, he stared back. Ben Johnson had won the race. Well, Carl Lewis thought, I don’t have the medal, but I could still give to my father the medal I had won.

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Acting with class and dignity, he wrote, he shook Ben Johnson’s hand, left the track. And then, amazingly, came the announcement that Johnson had tested positive for antibiotic steroids, and he was stripped of his medal. The gold medal went to Lewis, a replacement for the medal that he’d given his father. What a wonderful story! You see in this life, the greatest accomplishments are not what we achieve before each other’s eyes, but how we model God, our Heavenly Father, who invites us to follow Him and surrender our lives to his Son, Jesus Christ.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, we are in the living years. But what are we doing with these years? I know how fast these years go by, Lord, help me to make each day count. As I surrender my life to you, you will guide me perhaps not with outward success, but with the inner knowledge that I can be proud to be called a son of yours. Help me then, not to waste the years, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.