I recently had the amazing opportunity to listen to a challenge from Dr. Duane Litfin. If you are not familiar with the name, he is the President Emeritus of Wheaton College, and brought some great reminders to me in his presentation.
We read from Psalm 127. I have to admit, I had never taken the whole chapter as a single topic, but after hearing this, I felt compelled to share.
You see, I find myself challenged with the notion that my day-job needs to matter. From what I have read in management literature, I am not alone in this. We all need to have a sense that we are not just wasting our days and that we will come to the end of our lives wondering if we really made a difference. Here is what the Psalmist had to say…
1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. 3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. (NIV)
I have never really connected verses 1-2 with 3-5 before. Solomon was passing along some wisdom that really struck home with me. It is not an accident that he starts by saying that the Lord needs to be in the center of the work, but then he wraps it all up talking about our kids and the blessing they are.
Solomon was really onto something here. I have always said that my definition of success in this life is that my grandchildren are serving God. Regardless of where I work, and what I do, my first, and most powerful, field of influence is my children.
C.S. Lewis once said “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”
How much of the daily work I do is outdated the moment I finish it? Is my career really all about things that no one will know about, or care about, decades from now? I contrast that against the generations before me, and the generations that come after me. My dad does not have much in the way of material possessions, but he did leave me and my siblings a legacy to follow: A passionate legacy of living a life with God unashamedly.
Am I looking at my kids as a blessing? Many days – yes. Some days I forget and need this reminder.
Am I intentional in how I aim their lives towards the Lord? I need to be more so. When I am not placing a priority on my children, and their need for seeing who God is, it is because I am guilty of placing too much emphasis on other endeavors. Endeavors that, regardless of how noble, pale in comparison to my role as the father, mentor, leader in my home. My boys need to see the God I serve. They need to know that I am here for them. They need to know that true manhood is experiencing a personal relationship with the God of creation.
Disclaimer: I often refer to myself as a Jack of all Trades, Master of None. May I learn to be a Master of One Trade – Dad.