I’m the dad of two awesome kids, so I’m about to speak from experience. If you’ve been around kids for any length of time you’re probably accustomed to their continual requests like, “Dad, come see what I’ve built!” or “Come see what I can do!” Or perhaps you’ve heard one of the many variations that urgent plea comes in. They are literally going to explode if you don’t immediately drop everything you are doing to come and marvel at the sight of what they are building (or destroying)! I believe these are important exchanges with our kids where we have an incredible opportunity to validate them, build self-esteem, and encourage. They may as well be asking “Do you love me? Do you see my value?” That’s the core of what they really want to know, isn’t it? They simply haven’t learned yet that your love towards them doesn’t depend on their ability. What fascinates me is not why a child would do this, but why we still continue to do this throughout our lives.
Remember that time you were having a conversation with someone you just met and you really wanted them to know some of the great things about you? You were looking for that perfect opportunity to slip into the conversation the subject that would lead to talking about yourself. I remember after I climbed Mt. Hood the summer of 2001. I had my ear tuned to almost every conversation around me to see if I could somehow work it in. I just wanted everyone to know I had accomplished something spectacular! We’ve all done it…that vacation you just took, promotion you just got, new car, new house, and the list goes on and on and on. “Do you love me and see my value?” I’m certainly not saying there isn’t a time and place for these conversations. If someone asks you about yourself, by all means, tell them. What I am suggesting is that we take a closer look at our motivation in putting the spotlight on ourselves.
If I were to ask you to write one paragraph that was a snapshot of what your life was about, would you include information only regarding the years you have been living? Or would you include pertinent information about generations past and future that shaped you? I believe most of us would choose the former and we’re not alone.
I picked up my Bible the other day and read one verse and simply couldn’t go further. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus had just finished speaking exhaustively to the religious leaders of the day and pointing out their credibility problems. He then exits the temple and is likely regrouping his thoughts and praying for the truth he had just spoken to settle in their hearts. No sooner does he get one foot out the door when his closest friends choose to do something seemingly out of place and quite dumbfounding. They try to turn his attention to something built by their people. In essence, built by them.
“Jesus left the Temple. As he walked away his disciples pointed out how very impressive the Temple architecture was.” (Matthew 24:1 msg)
This is a fairly unassuming verse, but you can hear it if you listen close, “Do you love us and see our value because of what we’ve built?” I understand why they said it. I love the feeling of validation and praise from someone I care about just like them. It’s just that up to this point Jesus had spent a lot of time defining what a relationship with God looks like, and it didn’t depend on what the disciples or anyone else had built. In fact, as you continue to read in the text Jesus is explaining to us that there is a much bigger plan that is about to unfold. The impressive buildings are not part of his plan, but your willingness to accept an unconditional love that is not based on your performance is. We are selling ourselves short and missing an incredible truth if we don’t realize God loves and values us and wants us to be a part of His plan across multiple generations. We get irritated if things don’t happen before our very eyes, but a thousand years is but a day to Him. (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8)
If you embrace this truth it will help you fend off disappointment if you don’t feel you’ve accomplished enough in your life. God is a loving Dad viewing your entire family line from beginning to end. His validation of you happened with the first drop of Jesus’ blood, not because of what you did or didn’t do. So the answer to the question “Do you love and value me?” is a resounding “YES!”
I think we’ve all known people that we thought didn’t reap the benefits they deserved. Look at Moses. Poor guy wandered in the desert and did what God said and still didn’t get the milk and honey. If the Bible ended there I’d likely conclude that he got the short end of the stick, but it doesn’t. His legacy and influence continues to this day! Are you willing to live a life that takes this risk and forfeits the praise of other people? Or perhaps doesn’t include the things you thought you’d have? There is a big difference between “Dad, come see what I’ve built!” and “Dad, come help me build!” If you find it, your future generations will thank you.