The Importance of Vision

September 4, 2023Inline Text Rod Irvine

Learning about life and money from Dad

I was blessed with a good father, Arthur Edward Kinkead Irvine. He was born on Sept 4 1910 in the Post Office at  Nundah, Queensland where his grandmother was post mistress. So he would have been 113 today as I write. He in turn had been blessed by a heritage of godly values that had been handed down by his Christian parents and grandparents. My sadness about my father is that he did not have a trust in Christ himself. However, he did embrace most of the values that faith in Jesus instils in Christ’s followers.

Thus I was taught right from wrong, the importance of telling the truth, honouring my mother, honesty and integrity and the value of hard work. He could be firm with his justice and quite blunt with his advice. Dad was a school teacher who had taken up that profession just before the Depression and when his generation had a job they stuck with it. So when I went to University and did a science degree he was concerned that it didn’t seem to be leading to any tangible employment. ‘All you will become is an educated idiot’, he declared. Not desiring that heinous prospect I took up a teaching scholarship, followed him into the profession, and ultimately was posted to the same school where he was teaching. The accompanying photo shows Dad and me obviously reconciled after my ‘idiocy’ moment.

Another lesson I learned from him was the careful, thrifty use of money and the folly of getting sucked into dubious hire purchase agreements. I was duly alarmed when he showed me how much interest a naïve young man could accrue with injudicious financing. Dad didn’t even borrow for his own house. Yes, he did own the house I grew up in but Dad built it!!! Thus I was given quite a profitable grounding the use of money, lessons I absorbed and were reinforced when I married Helen who was imbued with similar values from her parents.

Dad also taught me the value of delayed gratification and saving. He kept up to one hundred chickensin an enclosed shed in the back yard and as I got older I sold the eggs to neighbours around the district. When I got a little older he turned the entire operation over to me to do the work and receive the profits. It was marvellous training in industry and financial management.

As a smaller child I was expected to do various household chores for which I would receive pocket money. I remember in those pre-decimal currency days, I was given 9 pence per week. However, I could not go open slather and spend it all gratifying my taste buds. Instead Dad set up three jars, one for saving, on for buying presents for other people and one for spending. That I can clearly remember this nearly seventy years later shows its utility.

But I think I could have improved on Dad’s system. I would have made the amount 10 pence and had a fourth jar. But I would rearrange the order so the fourth jar would actually be the first. It would be one for tithing and thus acknowledging all I had was due to the blessings of Almighty God. It would be a marvellous way to impress upon a young mind the truth of Proverbs 4:9.

Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.’

Thanks Dad for your guidance your, love and your discipline. I miss you.

For more on raising resources for ministry see my book Giving Generously.