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‘I’ll stick with Solomon’

During the recent sickness and passing of my father-in-law Bill Dickinson, his preacher-son Billy sent out a text to several of the family members expressing that — through it all — the Lord has been good to us. Then he said, “You know, I still believe in Romans 8:28.”

Romans 8:28 still is a powerful verse for every believer: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord …” writes the apostle Paul. Even as we deal with the most difficult times, we remember that great promise. While I’ve heard many very smart men water-down that scripture through the years, Billy and I — and you, too, I’m sure — still hold to the simple truth the verse declares: All things work together for good. We are all very glad of it too.

Billy and I do not get our black-and-white approach to the Bible dishonestly. Preacher Miller taught me that principle just about every day I walked on that old red Georgia clay. That’s why you read of him here so much. And Billy’s dad Bill taught him and his family the same approach. Bible interpretation is not as difficult as many make it. It just means what it says.

Whenever I’d say “the Bible means what it says” when my father-in-law “talked Bible” through the years, he’d quip, “And says what it means.”

Very true.

One of the famous stories from the gentleman we call Paw Paw took place when he worked for Armco Steel in Houston, a steel mill at which he was a foreman for 37 years. The company once sent him and a number of other men from management to a psychology class to brush up on their leadership skills. Sending Paw Paw to a modern-day psychology class would be a little like sending a dog to a cat-appreciation class. During the lecture, the teacher got onto the topic of child rearing, and many of those in the class offered comments during the question/answer session. Paw Paw had noticed from the beginning that most of that class consisted of highly educated men, even some lawyers and such. And all of them concurred with the teacher that using the belt from time to time isn’t the way to discipline children nowadays.

He listened patiently during both the lecture and question/answer session, letting the others do the talking. But the professor knew Bill, and — after a while — he turned to him and said,

“Mr. Dickinson, what do you think about all of this?”

You’d have to know my father-in-law, probably, but you can imagine this next scene, nonetheless. He stood up slowly, looked around the room at that educated crowd, and said,

“Well, I may be the dumbest man in here, with all of you lawyers and educated men. But Solomon said that if you spare the rod you will ruin your child.”

He paused, thought for a second, then concluded, “I think I’ll just stick with Solomon.” 

With that, he sat down. Case closed.

You know, thinking of that story, I think we’ll follow the lead of my father-in-law. We’ll just stick with Romans 8:28 too.

Especially in times like these.