Uncle Oscar was a man of few words, but taught me so much by his faithful example in being a godly man. Proverbs 17:27 says, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Uncle Oscar was a wise teacher, who may not have known the impact he had on my life personally, but it was evident in the life of others too.
When I think of Uncle Oscar I think of one word: FAITHFUL. The Apostle Paul submits, “Moreover, it is required that a steward be found faithful.” Uncle Oscar was a faithful steward of God. He was faithful to his wife for over 66 years, his family, his job, and most of all he was faithful to follow his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Uncle Oscar was faithful in his life and taught many, especially us young men what it meant to be a real man.
Titus 2:2 "Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness."
The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus to set the churches in order on the island of Crete. One of Titus’s task was to place elders over these congregations. He was also instructed to have the older men to teach the younger men in the church and in everyday life. As I think about this admonition Paul gave Titus, I am reminded how Uncle Oscar emulated Titus 2:2 for us younger men.Therefore, I want share with you 6 ways that my Uncle Oscar, as an older man taught me, as a younger man.
- Uncle Oscar taught me to be “sober-minded."
This mean literally, not to get drunk. To think and act with wisdom. As far as I know, Uncle Oscar was faithful to live this out. He understood, Ephesians 5:18, “Do not be drunk with wine, but let the Holy Spirit control you.” He knew the danger and evil that being controlled by anything than the Holy Spirit. Most of all, He knew how being anything but sober minded would affect his testimony for Christ. He was a clean-minded man whose life was evidently controlled but the Holy Spirit.
- Uncle Oscar taught me to be “dignified."
Uncle Oscar was serious minded, but but so much that he didn’t have fun. Uncle Oscar enjoyed life to the fullest. He enjoyed Alabama football, Atlanta Braves baseball, watching Westerns, and watching his grandchildren swim. He was a man who was dignified and had a good reputation with others.
I think about growing up and going to the local store where he would take us and tell us to put our drinks and candy on his “tab” or “credit.” The store owner knew he would be there to pay for it on pay day. He was dignified.
- Uncle Oscar taught me to be “self-controlled."
This means to “act with a saved mind.” I am not saying that Uncle Oscar was perfect, but I can recall never living out of control. Again this goes back to being controlled by the Holy Spirit. This self control speaks of being disciplined. A self controlled man is a disciplined man.
Matthew Henry says, “self control means the ability to govern well his passions and affections, so as not be hurried away by them to anything that is evil or indecent.” Uncle Oscar was a self controlled man.
- Uncle Oscar taught me the importance of “sound faith."
This word “sound” means literally healthy. The older men were to be fit in their faith. Their faith were to be healthy. You were not around Uncle Oscar before too long before he would make his way to the Bible. Uncle Oscar knew and lived the Word of God. I remember only 3 weeks before he passed away, I drove to Alabama to sit and visit with him. It wasn’t long he and I began talking about the Word of God. He was quoting the Old Testament about the sinfulness of the world today and the only hope was Jesus Christ. And I think about today, Uncle Oscar is now with the eternal Word Himself today.
- Uncle Oscar taught me how to “love."
How did he do this? He never sat me down and said, “Now Chad I want to teach you how to love.” No, he taught me how to love, how he loved his wife for over 66 years. He taught me how to love in how he love his two daughters, Linda and Kathy. How he loved his grandchildren. He taught me how to love by loving me, even though I wasn’t even his flesh and blood. You see some of my fondest childhood memories was when I spent time with his grandchildren, who were my cousins. I remember there was a time when they all got new Alabama jerseys and I got one too, just like I was one of his own.
Uncle Oscar taught me to love.
- Uncle Oscar taught me how to be “steadfast."
This word is a compound word which mean to remain under. Uncle Oscar lived a steadfast, enduring, persevering life in Christ. Matthew records the words of Christ in Matthew 24:13, “those who persevere until the end will be saved.” Uncle Oscar had been graced with salvation some years ago. He understood that he was a sinner separated from God and his only hope was in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Uncle Oscar received the gift of repentance and faith it is was evident as he persevered until the end in his walk with Christ. Uncle Oscar’s faith in Christ was unshakable and immoveable and he was able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith."
I pray that I may be able to influence my children, grandchildren, and others for Christ like Uncle Oscar. I give God the thanks and glory for providentially placing me in the life of this man and his family. I will be eternally grateful for his faithfulness to the Lord and how it has impacted my life as a pastor, husband, and father. May the Lord be glorified.