It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 3 John, verse 3.
I think I’ve mentioned this before: my parents taught me that one of the best compliments a child can give to a parent is for them to become independent and successful. Until I became a parent, I didn’t realize how hard it can be to watch that whole process unfold. It’s tough to teach your kids lessons of faith, then watch them make the same stupid unfaithful mistakes you made. It’s tough to sit back and watch your children struggle financially, literally paying for dozens of bad choices…just like you did. It’s tough to know that they are hurting because times are tough, prices are rising, and hearts seem to be growing colder.
Yet it’s still a joy – a total, complete, unabashedly fulfilling joy – when they do their best and you can see it coming out in them. My wife and I have learned that ‘success’ isn’t measured in dollars, property, or status. Real success is measured when the children you love live on faith. When they pray, when they are generous of heart, when they listen, when they empathize, when they help, when they are selfless, when they turn from bad choices, when they love without the expectation of love in return…
…when they walk in truth. Walking in Jesus’ truth is evidence of loving Him. Love Him by loving others. It gives me great joy when people say how my kids love like Jesus.
As with me, I’m afraid it doesn’t happen very often. Please understand: this isn’t to ‘diss’ on my kids. They’re wonderful people. It’s just that none of us really love like Jesus very often. He always gave everything, always put others first, and always stood fast in his commitment to His Father. In all that, He always loved selflessly. How blessed were the lives of those who knew Him first-hand. How blessed can we be when we realize that we get to know Him first-hand in our own lives. And how blessed are the moments when we get to see that’s true.
So when someone tells me, or I see it with my own eyes, that my kids are faithful, honest, and true people, I see Jesus at work in them. It warms me inside to hear of them teaching Sunday School, or working hard to honestly meet their commitments, or being a friend instead of just someone to hang out with. It warms me to watch them working to succeed, to hear good words said about them, and to understand why those words are true.
I think the apostle John would agree. He’d agree because Jesus put it on his heart to know love when he saw it.
Jesus my Lord, thank you for living in my kids, in people I love. I praise you for your always-present love.