What Do You Value Most?

I found valuable life advice in an unexpected place.

I’ve long been a subscriber to Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate blog. I appreciate her wise counsel about saving, spending, and planning. Her sage advice has helped me become a better steward of the resources God has entrusted to me. 

On the surface, Hunt’s blog is about tangibles—how much money we make and how we choose to save, spend, and invest. Beneath the surface lies a deeper river of biblical principles: making wise choices based on a sound value system, living frugally so you can invest well, and saving in order to bless, not hoard.

A recent post, however, sent me deep sea diving in Hunt’s wise waters. Deeper than which vacuum cleaner sucks up hairballs best. Deeper than whether it’s wise to use credit cards. Deeper even than how to plan for a sound financial future. Hunt’s post whispered the profound heart question, What do you value most? and hinted at Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

These weighty thoughts weren’t the focus of the post—nay, they were cloaked in a topic that rendered them practically invisible—Back to School Breakfasts Kids Love. But to the scuba divers among us, the question bubbled to the surface. What Do You Value Most? It was a hidden, heart-pricking sword.

This is what she wrote:

For the past five years, I have taken care of our sweet grandson, Eli, every Friday since he was 6 weeks old. That was a gift I gave to myself and my kids when he was born. To say that Eli and I have grown on one another would be a huge understatement. We live for Fridays and have a secret between us that Friday is our favorite day of the week! In just a few weeks, Eli will start Kindergarten, and my Fridays will change forever. . . . 

Hunt went on to share some kid-friendly breakfast ideas, but the peek she allowed into her life lingered in my mind long after her post meandered off into the kitchen. 

“That was a gift I gave to myself and my kids. . .”

That—the commitment to spend every Friday for five years caring for her grandson. Mary Hunt, the award-winning and bestselling author of 23 books, founder of Debt-Proof Living, and sought-after motivational speaker, discovered a treasure more valuable than fame and fortune—she found a sweet relationship with her grandson. 

It reminded me of a comment my now-grown daughter with a child of her own made a few weeks ago: “I’ve been thinking about when we were little,” she said, “and how much fun it was to spend every Thursday with Nanny.”

I’m sure every Friday Mary Hunt spent with her grandson wasn’t something from a Hallmark movie. There were probably more than a few days of fretful crying, runny noses, and bad attitudes. For my mom, I know the drive across town every week was tedious, the time spent away from her home sacrificial, and the cost in other ways significant. Both these women, however, discovered precious treasure buried under the cost of their commitment—lifelong relationships with their grandchildren.

Mary Hunt’s grandson, Eli, is only five. The long-term payoff from the time she’s spent with him is still in the future. My mom, on the other hand, is reaping the fruit of the seeds she sowed years ago. 

All grown up and living far away, my daughters regularly call their Nanny to talk about life and seek her input. They make special efforts to visit her, and they send her “thinking of you” gifts in the mail. They love their Nanny, and the seeds of this love were watered week in and week out as she loved and cared for them.

I know not everyone can set aside a day every week to care for their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or other important little people. Many have to work full time, live far away, or have physical limitations.

We can, however, prayerfully ask the Lord to show us how to intentionally invest in a young person’s life. Unlike teachers, friends, and others who come into children’s lives for a time and then move on, we can be a consistent, dependable source of love and care for as long as the Lord allows us.

Will you join me in prayerfully asking the Lord to show us how we can significantly invest in the children God brings into our lives? Like Mary Hunt, I think we’ll discover that not only will it be a special gift to a child and his parents, it will also be a gift we give ourselves.

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