On December 4th, I celebrated 13 years of marriage with my wife Meeke. We had a chance to get away for a day and have some time to ourselves without the constant request from one or more of our kids. We could talk uninterrupted, We ate a nice meal without having to cut up food for our 1-year-old. It was a beautiful time of reconnecting. We talked about life, goals, and our children. As it stands now we have five beautiful children. I desired to have four children before I was married, and I must say I had no clue of what all this entailed. I grew up in a family where for 8 years I was an only child and then my sister was born. With the two of us pretty much growing up as only children for a span, me having five little ones, the oldest being 10, was a huge adjustment.
My dad once said to me, “When you get married you will realize how selfish you are and when you have children you will REALLY realize how selfish you are.” This was a very true statement. Looking back on my upbringing, I was blessed to have a family with a mother and a father. I am still blessed. My dad was a stabilizing force in my family and in my life. My dad set the tone, and he demonstrated for me what it meant to love your family. He even challenged me to do better than he was doing. He left a great legacy. This is why I hold it as the highest honor to be a husband and father of integrity. We don't get it right all the time but with God's grace, we can definitely do what God requires of when in their homes.
I'm often reminded of memories of my paternal grandfather. He was not a rich man, and he lived for many years in housing projects in New Orleans. Amazingly, he kept a garden in the projects while working as a maintenance man in a department store. Everyone knew him and he was a good man. And even though he lived in a property that he didn't own, my grandfather would personally cut the grass and pick up trash. When he moved, no one took up that role. And even though my father would say that his dad did not say "I love you," my father knew that his father did love him because of how he provided for the family. My dad took it up a level, as I recall him saying many times, "I love you." My dad wanted to improve on the things he felt was lacking, and this was a great thing. I often say that men like my grandfather, who didn't have many words but had much action, were a different breed of man.
It's my honor today to keep up the legacy of my grandfather and my father. They showed their love for their wife, kids, and household by being there and also providing security and what was needed. They were not rich men but in actuality, they were some of the wealthiest men I know. They were blessed with wives that loved them, and children that went beyond what they accomplished.
Today, I would like to encourage you to take pride in your family. These are the people God has given to you to disciple, shepherd, and love. In an age where it is far too easy to remove the man, or for the man to remove himself from the equation, let it not be said of us Christians that we did not fight for our families. Let it not be said that we left it to our wives to raise the kids. Let it not be said that we had no time for our families because we were pursuing worldly ambitions. Let it not be said that we loved the pleasures of this world more the being Godly stewards of our families. Men, if you want something to manage, something to take ownership of, you don't have to look beyond your household. The words of the Apostle Paul ring true today:
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
Let this not be said of us.