What we’re leaving for the kids

Ari and I were hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion a cou­ple days ago about a rel­a­tive that passed away recent­ly and what was being left for the chil­dren in her will. Mor­gon, our 10-year-old, piped up:

Dad, when grand­pa dies, is he going to leave you a lot of money?”

Ari and I just laughed. We could­n’t help it—that’s just a humor­ous thought to us. We know that both sets of our par­ents won’t have much to leave, if any­thing, in the way of mate­r­i­al wealth. But one thing we already have that is part of the real trea­sure they are leav­ing behind is that that has nev­er even been a con­cern of ours.

You see, our par­ents have lost just about every­thing they had, or ever had a shot at, in the way of suc­cess. They did so delib­er­ate­ly, because they chose to squan­der their lives on our Lord, just as Mary squan­dered all of her wealth, her oil of pure nard, by pour­ing it out on Christ.

It sounds great when I put it like that. But when it start­ed, and all through­out the process, most peo­ple looked at them and what they were try­ing to do and asked, “Why are you doing this?” That aban­don­ment and pour­ing out isn’t ever a com­fort­able thing to do. It’s usu­al­ly down­right painful. They left fam­i­lies, jobs, pos­ses­sions, hous­es, land, secu­ri­ty and rep­u­ta­tions, and were count­ed as fools, crazy, igno­rant, unlov­ing, and worse.

So, why would they do that?

Because they hun­gered and thirst­ed after right­eous­ness. And it’s the path which God takes those who hunger down in order to make them satisfied.

Ari answered Morgon,

No, grand­pa’s prob­a­bly not going to leave us any­thing. But that’s ok.”

Dad, what about when you die? Are you going to leave us any­thing?” Ronan, our 7‑year-old, asked.

We laughed again, but not so hard this time. This strikes a bit clos­er to home. And it’s been some­thing I turn over in my head occasionally.

I want to be a good par­ent. I want good things for my kids. They are tal­ent­ed, smart, promis­ing young men. I, just like you, have a whole world scream­ing it’s ideas of what is ‘nec­es­sary’ and ‘best’ into my ears, and it’s impos­si­ble not to feel that pres­sure. It would be eas­i­er for them to feel secure and not have to strug­gle to live here. But more than want­i­ng what’s good, I want what’s best for them, and I know that does­n’t come from striv­ing after mate­r­i­al things.

We don’t own much. That’s on purpose.

I don’t have a 401k plan. That’s on pur­pose, too.

We have cho­sen to walk a path where God has specif­i­cal­ly asked us to lay our secu­ri­ty on the altar, and to put our trust in Him.

I want my boys to know how to cry out, “Where’s the God of Eli­jah?” and to have to rely on God to back them up when they beat the waters with their cloaks.

My hope is that they are going to see, just as we did, par­ents who are squan­der­ing their lives on the only One worth los­ing every­thing for.

Maybe they’ll have mon­ey. Maybe they’ll own prop­er­ties. Maybe they’ll be wealthy. Maybe we’ll be grant­ed to leave some of those things for them, I don’t know. But if they do obtain these things, our hope is that it won’t mean a hill of beans to them, but that their focus will be on doing the Will of the Father, and all these things which have been added to them—because of putting the King­dom and it’s right­eous­ness first—will be ser­vants and tools of that purpose.

Ari and I have already decid­ed what we’re leav­ing our boys (and girl, hope­ful­ly?) when we leave this earth; it’s going to be the same thing that our folks have already impart­ed in us: a deep, abid­ing love of our Father, and the pas­sion to obey him and aban­don every­thing for him. And the wis­dom to not go after earth­ly trea­sures, but eter­nal.

Is that a waste? I don’t think so.

In part­ing, I leave you a cou­ple of my favorite quotes by peo­ple I real­ly respect to think on:

“When I die, if I leave behind me ten pounds … you and all mankind [may] bear wit­ness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.”
John Wes­ley

“Peo­ple who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as mis­sion­ar­ies. They for­get that they too are expend­ing their lives … and when the bub­ble has burst, they will have noth­ing of eter­nal sig­nif­i­cance to show for the years they have wasted.”
Nate Saint

“He is no fool who gives what he can­not keep to gain what he can­not lose.”
Jim Elliot

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