My parents recently celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary, and as I reflect on their marriage and the gifts it has brought me personally, I had a revelation of the best gift they gave me related to my faith.
I recently told my parents that the best thing they did for us was not give us everything. Because in doing so, they taught us to not care about what people thought about us. My brother nodded his head in agreement.
I never was popular. I never had the latest and greatest, the most friends, the biggest house, or the most impressive cars. We never went on extravagant vacations and rarely had anything to brag about. They had meaningful possessions that were often gifts from others, but they didn’t live for their possessions and rarely bought extra things for themselves. My parents lived a pretty humble, simple existence.
Times as a kid weren’t necessarily easy in this way. In fact, I got my fair share of shunning, and I’m pretty sure I lost some friends because I wasn’t cool or rich enough. There were moments of pain, loneliness, and feeling terribly unpopular.
But in the long run, it served me well. It was training for the real Christian life. How you raise kids matters. Are you raising them to care about what people think and keep up with the Jones’? Or are you raising them to live by God’s standards?
Why is this important? Because living your faith day to day is often unpopular. The Gospel is not easy. It goes against the grain. It’s not a life of having everything you want, being the most popular person in the room and constantly keeping up with your next door neighbor.
You have to be willing to not go with the crowd, and sometimes you have to do that quite radically depending on how God calls you.
So thanks, mom and dad. You raised us well and it’s bearing fruit - fruit eternal.