I now have two adult daughters. Lydia turned eighteen a year ago, and Jessica turned eighteen three days ago. They are both spreading their wings in completely different ways. It is a beautiful thing to watch. I’m not going to get into the details of what they are both doing. Not because it’s a secret, and not because I’m avoiding comparing one to the other. I’m not going into details because there is really just one thing they both should be doing. There is one thing that they need to measure their lives by. It’s not how much time they spend in ministry. It’s not whether or not they are going to college. It’s not about what kind of job they have. It’s not even about what kind of relationship they are in. They need to take the following verse and spend every day living it to the best of their ability.
Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus summarized the entire bible with this one statement. He was trying to communicate that the best way to follow the commands of the Bible is to love God and love everyone around you. Jesus didn’t make demands on church attendance. He didn’t make demands on ministry. He didn’t demand career success. He didn’t demand political affiliation. He wanted everyone to know that following Him was really about loving God and loving the people around you.
Lydia and Jessica, this is my only expectation of you both. Measure your success by how much you love God and how much you love those around you. I believe you both already do this to the greatest of your ability. In this next stage of your life, can you take it to the next level? I don’t care about your choice of political party. I don’t care how much money you make. I don’t care how much you go to church. I don’t care how much you volunteer. I don’t care how many missions trips you attend. I want to know if you are loving God and loving those around you. That is how you need to measure your life. That is the filter by which you judge yourself.
And one last thing. Please know that no matter what happens. No matter how bad it gets. No matter what you have done. You can always come home. You will always have a bed to sleep on. Until my final breath, I will be proud to be your father.