No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord;
the fruit of the womb is a divine reward.
4 The children born when one is young
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.
5 The person who fills a quiver full with them is truly happy!
They won’t be ashamed when arguing with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127: 3-6, Common English Bible).
This morning before church, as happens fairly regularly on Sunday mornings at the Broyles’ home, we watch CBS Sunday Morning. Cindy really enjoys the show. During at least part of the show I watch while I eat breakfast. Much of the rest of the time I am reading my sermon again for the last time.
Fortunately, this morning, they told the story of Lamont Thomas. When he was 48-years-old, Thomas was a divorced father of two grown kids. He was an empty-nester, when Michael Perez entered his life. Michael was about to enter the foster care system. Lamont couldn’t bear the prospect of this “good” kid getting lost in the foster care systems as happens all too often. Before long, Lamont Thomas adopted Michael who has since left home working as a nurse in the Buffalo New York area.
Michael was only he beginning. Over the next 15 years Lamont fostered more than 30 children, adopting five of them. He did this all on his own. He was still (and still is) as a single parent. When the last child was gone and he was an empty-nester again and said he was ready to go fishing!
His fishing trip, however, was not one for the ages, or even looking beyond the next week or two. It didn’t take long before this foster parent was back answering his call again. He learned about a set of siblings that got into his heart. These kids are, Zendaya, Jamel, Nakia, Major and Macaela. Learning that the state intended to split the siblings up, permanently. The thought broke is heart. Lamont heard his call again. He also listened again. He responded again. He stepped up for Zendaya, Jamel, Nakia, Major and Macaela. He stepped forward and brought them into his home, keeping them in foster care, at first. There was food, drink, clothing, and a roof over their head because Lamont Thomas stepped up in a time of need. As a result, he now was taking on parental duties.
The one thing Lamont knew was still true. There were no guarantees in foster care. At any time, the state, who had permanent custody of the children, could return and take the children away, splitting them up as they pleased. So, at a time when Cindy and I are starting to think about how we want our pensions divided up, Lamont is taking on five new children, none over the age six. From a man of leisure and fishing to a man who could impact the lives of children, in his own community by bringing them into his home and making permanently and officially part of his life.
“No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a divine reward. The children born when one is young are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. The person who fills a quiver full with them is truly happy! They won’t be ashamed when arguing with their enemies in the gate. “
Even if you don’t count Lamont’s 30 previous foster children, adopting 10 and having two natural born of his own so 12 kids, that is a pretty full quiver. If you include his 30 plus foster kids, he might need to be careful that some of those arrows don’t fall out of his quiver.
Lamont is a man who has to have a heart for kids. Cindy and I fostered one child for a few months several years ago. Our young man was great, a loving and caring first grader. It was a challenge to say the least. It is one I would do again, but we knew going in that we were talking about a few months. For Lamont, it became a permanent lifestyle change. Five siblings under six years old. More than 30 others over a lifetime have experienced it as well. All while Lamont has been a single dad. Think about that for just a second, a foster dad who was also a man with great family, great friends, and a great church giving him support. And, that is a good thing.
Lamont is a man who answered God’s call. Lamont is a man who demonstrates for us that there is no such thing as retiring from the work of God. Lamont demonstrates too that we are still to work for children and even children of faith. Oh, and as far as I am concerned, Lamont Thomas should be father of the year, every year!
What is God calling on you to do?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2019, Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved