“Hope I’m better than Michael Bluth.”
That’s the text message I humorously sent my wife the day we decided to step back on staff at the non-profit my dad helped start and has served as President for the last 20 years.
Thanks to Netflix, Mandy and I have been laughing ourselves to tears at an early 2000s TV series called Arrested Development after the kids are safely tucked in bed at night. (I don’t know that I’d openly recommend it to you, but I guess I just did). It follows an outrageously dysfunctional family and how one son works to hold the business and the relationships together after the father gets thrown in jail for selling homes to Saddam Hussein.
Thankfully, that’s where my metaphor breaks down. But I still find myself staring at a big transition with some big (albeit more integrous) shoes to eventually fill.
My entire life, I’ve lived into the blessings my God-honoring parents, (and actually, their parents before them) paved in front of me. Things I didn’t earn. Things I didn’t create. Things that can make you entitled, or things that can make you grateful.
You might call it chance. I call it a gift.
And I know from my years of pastoring that far too many of you find family to be a barricade instead of a launching pad. A source of heartache instead of joy. (A little more Bluth than Cosby). Three of my close friends wept when they heard the news of my move to Community Reinvestment Foundation. Not because they were sad at my departure from full-time pastoring, but because their own hearts longed for a connection with their father birthed in mutual desire, not just holiday obligation.
Is that you? What if you could change that? Instead of looking back with regret, what if you looked forward with hope?
I have a responsibility to steward a gift. We all have an opportunity to give that kind of gift.
You can become a hero for generations to come. A source of joy and strength. You can change the trajectory of your family. Clear the brush from the path. You can give them a gift. It’s not easy. It’s not without sacrifice. But you can be the start of a legacy those you love will be honored to live into.
It’s never too late, it can begin today, and it starts with Jesus.