It takes real wisdom, understanding and knowledge to have a ‘successful’ life. Success is not measured in dollars and cents alone.
When reading our text today, the first thing I thought about is that not all God’s people are “rich” in material goods. What we are rich in is relationships. We may not all have tons of friends but we have One who sticks closer than a brother. THIS relationship puts the rest in perspective and makes others possible.
I am one of five children in my family. My mother is one of five also and my father is one of eleven. I also have four of my own children and my husband has two. Of those six we have a combined total of eleven grandchildren. When my oldest son divorced, we kept his ex as our own. She now has a significant other of her own. We have a LARGE family to say the least. I’m not even counting my sibling’s family line or the lines of my parent’s siblings here. We have a HUGE family when you put us ALL together!!!
THESE people and relationships are the “precious and pleasant riches” I like to count. Structures are built up and crumble down. Jewels sparkle and eventually lose their luster. Furnishings, art, appliances, toys, cars, etc… ALL wear out and are replaced. These family ties last a lifetime. We may not always be happy with the relationships, but that doesn’t make them any less precious in the end.
I have two brothers. One was the bane of my existence growing up. Whatever you didn’t want him to do, he would make sure he did it until you screamed. (Sorry mom, this is no exaggeration.) He enjoyed pestering people. He carried this into his adult life with at least some of his multiple wives. Even today I keep him at arms-length socially, but if either of us are in trouble you bet your bottom dollar that the other would be there helping out! And THIS is no exaggeration either.
My second brother was my favorite when he was very young. He learned to get by on ‘charm’ and ‘cuteness’. He didn’t learn a lot of respect for other people’s property, normal courtesy, or other’s rights. He thinks of his needs, wants, and desires first and foremost. His life is NOTHING like the little boy’s who used to turn to me for comfort when he was in trouble. But, again, I would move mountains for him if he were in real trouble. I don’t know if the feeling here is mutual, but that doesn’t change my part of the response.
These relationships, no matter how strained, are still precious to me. I know they are all precious to my parents. I hear the joy and pain in their voices as we talk over the phone. I don’t get to see my parents in person very often but I maintain close relationships with both of them. And I have it easier on that front than MANY ‘children’ in the world because my parents are still together after 60 years.
Our family, from my grandparents down, have been built by parents who had a strong relationship with the Lord. I don’t doubt that goes back even farther in my history, but I can at least attest to this much. These ancestors of mine are NOT all perfect. But their lives were/are built on wisdom gained from God’s word. Our house rang with stories and lessons of the bible; some more pleasant than others. God’s wisdom was brought forth whenever clarity was needed. He was who we ALL turned to and trusted in during times of trouble. And struggles were weathered as a family, fully grounded and built upon God’s principles.
THAT is my legacy; my HOUSE built by wisdom, understanding and knowledge. A home where God provided the direction, resources, lessons, and foundational ties that link us all together. Are ALL of the members in my ‘house’ following the Lord? Sadly, the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t following their lives.
“Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him” (Psalm 127:3). There is a difference between God’s gifts and mans’. Actually, God’s gifts look a lot like my husband’s idea of gifts. When my husband gives someone something, he keeps watch over how they use it. He checks in on his gifts from time to time. He will ‘offer advice’ as to how you should be using his gifts. In other words, there are ‘strings attached’. God gives us many different kinds of gifts and His ‘strings’ are a bit more subtle. Salvation is the first of many. That gift is free, but it changes your life forever. The ‘strings’ associated with this gift is that your HEART has changed for the better. A changed life flows out of that heart change. No heart change, no life change, no true salvation.
With children, I FULLY believe God keeps watch over how we raise them. He cares about how they are treated. I have no doubt that those who abuse children WILL answer for this in front of the Father. And they will NOT like His response. If God watches over every sparrow, is it any stretch of the imagination to trust that He is watching over even our ‘wayward’ children? These PRECIOUS and mostly pleasant gifts of God are meant to fill our lives. And our lives are to reflect His wisdom, understanding and knowledge in raising them.
THIS also is the HOUSE that God built. He has filled it with precious and pleasant riches. This house cost Him dearly, but He counts it well worth the price. NOTHING is more valuable to Him than a right relationship with His children. And He has built ‘rooms’ for ALL of them in HIS home.
Father God, thank You for sharing with me what TRUE riches are. Not the things this world can give but what You provide. Thank You for EACH of my family members. Some of them are with You now while others are walking as far away as they can get. But they are NEVER beyond You love and desire for a restored relationship. All it takes is a turn of the heart. You are RIGHT THERE, waiting with open arms.
You also know what it will take for each of Your wayward children to come back to You. Those raised by parents who bathed them in Your wisdom, understanding and knowledge throughout their lives have a kernel planted so deep in them that they will NEVER really be able to extinguish it. They might try with all their might, but that ‘string’ HOLDS FAST. That is the promise I’m clinging to for my children and grandchildren too. THANK YOU that You don’t EVER give up on them. And that gives me strength to NEVER give up either!
Refill my HOME Lord with the sound of my children’s voices singing Your praises.