Family: What’s in it for me?

Just a few weeks ago, Paula and I celebrated 40 years of life together.  As a part of the celebration, our daughters and sons in-law got together and took us out for a nice meal.  After that, we went back to one of their homes and they prepared a great video, including dozens of people who love us and who make such a difference in our lives.

At the end of the video they presented us with the photo you see here on my blog.  This is a picture of our three daughters, Erin along with her husband Steve, Lindsey along with her husband Aaron, and Paige along with her fiance Dustin. You’ll notice they are holding out their hands.  In their hand is a heart and within that heart is a number. Those numbers represent the year of our 40-year marriage that they entered our lives.  Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, generosity, kindness, and thoughtfulness of my children.

Since that night, I can’t help but think about all the decisions that Paula and I have made during the last 40 years; not the least of which was to have children, to take the risk in the face of questions like: how can we afford it, what will we do about college, what will we do if they hate us, what if something bad happens? Those and ten thousand other questions are really our way of asking, “What’s in it for me?”

So here is my takeaway. Instead of looking at your family as an inconvenience, cost, a bother, people who are either holding you back or keeping you at work late at night to afford the things they want, look at them as an investment.  I’m not talking about a return of dollars, but the return of love; the possibility of a legacy of amazing people who will make the world a better place, who will live their lives to honor God and love people.  Never doubt that what your family costs you is a fraction of what they give back.

If you doubt that or if you say, “That hasn’t been true in my life,” take a look in the mirror.  You get back what you give out.  Pour into your wife,  your husband, your children, to their lives, to their children generously, lavishly.  The Bible is true.  Give and it will be given unto you.

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