Last night we visited the Dave Diedrich home. The Diedrichs have four sons, three daughters and a huge yellow lab named Murphy. Dave and his wife invited the Eternal Vision Ministry Team and our family to their home for a relaxing fall evening. We walked the grounds and watched the river run by. We toured their outbuildings and tossed the football out in the autumn air until near dark when we were called in for supper.
Within a wood fire warmed the house. Soft light filled the dining room. The children were polite, respectful, and happy. The home was inviting and beautiful. It was very tastefully furnished, orderly and comfortable. The shelves were filled with good things to read. The walls decorated with reminders of Scriptural truths. Their whole home exuded order and godly purpose.
Between a delicious Italian meal and apple pie and ice cream with coffee the man of the house walked over and took out his Bible. With devotion in his voice he read the Scriptures. When he was done he passed out a little family hymn book. Soon the whole house was filled with spirited singing. It was an evening of laughter and kindness. There was a happy spirit of love in the home.
The evening passed very quickly. As I drove away I was reminded of what I am devoting my life to. Years ago Dave and his wife and Lois and I went to the same seminar. At the time they called it the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. The instructor was a single man from Chicago by the name of Bill Gothard. Later we both enrolled our families in the Advanced Training Institute, the home schooling branch of what is now called the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Our lives were greatly influenced by what we learned there. In the years to come we ordered our homes and our schedules around the Scriptures as we had been taught at the Seminar and in the ATI program. Year after year we took our families on the long journey south to Knoxville for our annual conference.
The Diedrich home is an example of Psalm 112 “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who trusts the Lord, who delights greatly in his commandments. His descendants will be mighty on the earth. The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house… He will guide his affairs with discretion…”
On the drive home it occurred to me that Dave’s orderly, godly home was the direct result of God’s work in his life through the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the Advanced Training Institute, and the teaching of Bill Gothard. These are the means of grace that God used to encourage Dave and his wife to follow God and inspire their children to follow God. On the way home I phoned Mr. Gothard and told him what I had experienced. He was just in from Romania and plotting how he can show fathers there how to build godly homes.
The Diedrich family is an inspiring example of what happens when a man and his wife get a hold of the truth of God and claim the promises of God for their family. It is hard for me to imagine a better way to invest my life than in simply encouraging others to do that. To help people in our broken world discover how to build orderly joyful homes– that is a great work.
Riverfront Character Inn
November 2, 2005