“How much your worth is how much you give, not what you own”.
In an article by Rabbi Socks, the above quote resonated deep within me. Having grown up in a family of eight kids, we grew up with a measure of poverty. My father was the custodian at the county court house, and my mother a maid at a small motel. Together they scraped together enough money each month to keep us fed, clothes on our back, and a roof over our heads.
We were a family of little and we expected little.
As I grew into adulthood, I vowed I would never put my children in the same situation I grew up in and I pressed every button I could to get ahead.
With my success came the natural trappings of nice home, nice cars, all the things that show the world we are a successful family.
By all standards I was a successful, but not affluent provider for my family. My worth increased over the years with higher salaries, more expensive cars, and more expensive homes. Not able to purchase multiple homes I considered my worth to be less than many who lived a more lavish lifestyle than I. My measure of worth was shallow and weak but was shared by most people I worked with and around every day.
What I didn’t know was that this measure of success was not God’s measure. God looks at your heart and what He was seeing in my heart was not the heart of a successful father. What he was seeing was a heart of pride.
So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12:4 The Message)
One day I went to work like any other, by the end of the day, I was going home having been laid off from my job. At 50 years of age, it was a terrifying circumstance. All the pride I had in my success did not help me at that moment. I was devastated and found no hope in the success I previously garnered.
At this time, God began to show me my pride and how it was hindering His ability to help me succeed. The words of Job explain the lesson, I would learn over the next nine months as I struggled to find another source of support for my family.
When things go badly, when affliction and suffering descend, God tells them where they’ve gone wrong, shows them how their pride has caused their trouble. He forces them to heed his warning, tells them they must repent of their bad life. If they obey and serve him, they’ll have a good, long life on easy street. But if they disobey, they’ll be cut down in their prime and never know the first thing about life. (Job 36:5 The Message)
As I look around me today, I see many young men who are moving down the same path I was on. They speak of all God has done for them, but what is obvious in their words is they are really saying “look at all I have accomplished”. The same spirits that lied to me about success, are lying to them today.
Although I try, only a few are willing to listen to my story. The message from our society and it’s measure of success is that this is a man who tried and failed.
God has fully restored me to my former level of success. The difference now, is that I am driven by a totally different measure. I now subscribe to the message hidden in Matthew 6:30: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (The Message)
Fathers, don’t worry about missing out on anything. If you learn to measure your success according to God’s metrics, you will find all your human concerns will be met and more.
En servicio como Padre