Refuse collector Troy picks up rubbish and works hard for a living. He loves his wife Rose and speaks his mind. But when his son Cory comes home and tells his father he has quit his part time job at A&P in order to play football Troy is having none of it.
Troy was once a talented sportsman himself but felt let down by the prejudice in the system. And that is why he refuses to let his son go down the same route. But after this conversation, when Cory has left, Rose comes out and tells Troy that everything Cory does he does for his dad, he just wants to hear his father say, ‘Good job, son.’ He wants to know that his father cares, this his father is proud of him, and that – yes – he likes him. Loves him even.
This sense of identity is so vital for all of us. To be grounded in love, to be secure in the knowledge that we are precious and cared for, without it we go looking in all kinds of places for assurance and reassurance. It was vital for Jesus. He heard from his father at least three times. ‘You are my beloved son, and I am totally pleased with you.’ This was the message from the heavens as he began his work. Mark 1 v 11. And this one… ‘This is my boy, I’m proud of him. Listen to him.’ Resounded from the skies not too long before his sacrifice and death. Luke 9 v 35. We men can trip over our egos so easily. All of us can at times. Peer pressure hems us in, and we don’t like to look weak. But it’s so vital to say kind things, to encourage one another, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. The Bible is full of the assurance that we are beloved children. But we need to remind one another, because so many other messages come at us and drown that out. ‘See how much the father loves us,’ John writes in chapter 3 of his first letter in the New Testament, ‘we are his children!’ We are his cherished sons and daughters. He says, ‘Good job, well done, I love you, I’m proud of you.’