I often say "I am the richest of all men." I say that because of my family. I have an amazing wife and four daughters who bring me more joy than I could have ever imagined. I took a week away from work and blog last week to spend some time with these incredible people. We ate together, played games, went shopping (I have 4 daughters) and went for some long walks. It has become an end of summer tradition for us to go away as a family, and this year, as always, I come back from the trip with mixed feelings. I am so proud of and happy about the young women my daughters are becoming. They are all different, but beautiful inside and out. They have strength and character and the ability to speak their own mind. (They have strong opinions but most of the time are willing to hear dad's side of the story too.) They seem to have developed a faith that is real and deep and is "theirs", which is something a pastor/father agonizes over. I've seen too many kids grow up in a pastor's family, with all the good and bad, and want nothing to do with God. But thank you Jesus, my girls seem to have realized that imperfect people are a part of the journey and that Jesus is not validated or negated by the success or failure of those who claim to follow Him. That's a blessing to me. Angela and I are fully enjoying this stage of life as all our children begin making their way in the world.
But I'm also sad. Their growing up and leaving the nest means that I don't see them everyday. I don't know everything that is going on in their lives. I can't always intervene when someone is a jerk to them. I can't rescue them when there is a spider in their room. Dad (and mom too) move from directors and guides to cheerleaders on the sidelines.
But that's the way it goes with "riches". You aren't given them to hoard them. They are to be passed on, to serve as a blessing for others. So I'm still the richest of all men, let's just say that my assets are diversified and that I am spreading the wealth. The truth is, we never actually own anything that has value. These things (and by things I mean relationships) are given to us in trust, and God calls us to nurture them in a way that will allow the value to be passed on. It's encouraging to see that God has been gracious, despite my mistakes and selfishness. As my dad (who understood this so well) would say, "Our kids turned out pretty well in spite of us." I feel the same way.
Why am I telling you all this? I guess I am hoping that my story will remind you of the value you have in the relationships all around you. That despite the way circumstances change and people come and go, my hope is that you can treat all people as gifts from God, and that you can share yourself in a way that brings the wealth you have been given to the world around you.