We look at stories of people who started from scratch, and we admire them so.
Self-starters! Visionaries! The world applauds their determination to succeed against all odds, and honestly, I can relate a little bit. When I moved to America, we sure didn’t have much. When I first filed my FAFSA, which is the form you fill out for college financial aid, the government expected my family to be able to contribute $0 to my college expenses. That was accurate. I studied and I worked, received scholarships and grants, and a few loans. I came out with an honors diploma. Cue celebratory rap song.
Not only do we celebrate this kind of hard path, we look down on the other one… you know… when people are given stuff by their parents. We call them spoiled. We question their appreciation for what they have, because well… they didn’t “earn” it, but instead they were given these things. And we judge them. We judge them, even though they have to steward what they’re given with the same amount of responsibility as anybody else who comes to own those belongings. When you own a car, whether you bought it or not, you have to take care of it. You still have to understand what you have, and know how to manage it. And if you don’t manage it well, soon enough you’ll be a pedestrian again, right?
The world makes life about “earning” stuff. People both ignore and celebrate the orphans who have no parents and no inheritance… the orphans of the orphans of the orphans…. and all the while, all those orphans want to build is an inheritance. They want to build security for themselves and for the next generation. They ultimately hope that their kid will be judged and spoiled, a child who has an inheritance, who has an easier path… a child who doesn’t have to start from the bottom of the pit and claw their way up.
We should take a long, hard look at our theology, then, if we judge the children of families and we admire the disadvantaged, but only when they manage to break the mold. We judge the disadvantaged when they fill our prisons, when they prostitute themselves, and when they become addicted. We don’t celebrate their predictable outcomes, do we? We don’t take even a moment to pity them, to put ourselves in their shoes, to adopt them, or to visit them and tell them of a Family they can belong to. I promise you it’s the most humbling thing to befriend a prostitute and hug them, and tell them how worthy they are of love. I promise it’s life-changing to go to a prison and look into the eyes of the condemned, and tell them about a Guy who did away with condemnation. That’s the kind of thing, though, that only children of God can do. No self-starters get these kinds of perks. We have to lay ourselves down to become His children. And then He begins to blow our minds with what it looks like to belong to Him.
All this hit me while I was thinking about inheritance. What does it look like to have God as my Father, truly? What does it look like to steward the inheritance He gives me, aka gifts I DID NOT HAVE TO EARN?! I have so many of those, you guys. It’s ridiculous. And the funny thing is that I TOTALLY DESERVE THESE THINGS. You read that right. It’s no typo.
I deserve what the Father gives me because I’m His kid. You ever give your kid an ice cream cone and send them on a whole “I DO NOT DESERVE YOUR LOVE VIA ICE CREAM CONE!” rant? Nope. Not even a little bit. Kids will just say yes and more, and happily dig into it. And are we not called to be childlike? I think this is what it is. To stop beating ourselves up with the gospel of false humility, to stop questioning so much that we are worthy of His love, because obviously we are worth dying over and He says we belong to Him. We are so very worthy, in ways we may never understand, but that’s okay. We are loved and we are His. And because of that, we have an inheritance, and we deserve one. Once we get over these things, we can move on to thinking of how in the WORLD we’ll actually steward this thing properly.
What does it look like to open our hands and say “Okay, let’s do this” and accept something bigger than ourselves, given to us to love and take care of? I’m learning.
I’m learning how to steward hearts. Jesus gave me keys to a whole bunch of hearts. I have access to the deep parts of so many people. It’s like a counselor and a friend and a sister, all mashed up into one. I have keys like that. I get to love so many women, truly love them. I get calls and texts and messages from total strangers, and once we get on the phone, I ask “Okay, how did you hear about me?!” and hear their various responses. Then I hear their hearts. I hear bits of their stories. I ask how I can serve them. I give them my best gold nuggets of wisdom, unafraid of their reactions haha. And I am blessed, BLESSED to get to pray with them. Sometimes we walk through inner healing. Sometimes they forgive people while on the phone with me! Can you just imagine that kind of breakthrough! Tears, y’all. Lies coming off. Trust issues addressed. Anger shoved aside. Prophecy and revelation for their lives. THEIR HEARTS ARE TREASURES and I get to step into them! The honor is heavenly. If you want to get a call, you know you better just ask right now!
I’m learning how to love deep and wide the man of God in my life. He’s a TREASURE. We’ve both had birthdays in the past couple of weeks, and it was the sweetest thing to plan a fun date and buy him gifts, and receive his sweet gifts. He gives great gifts, just like his Father in Heaven.
What got me on this inheritance roll, though, was this season of graduation of my first year of ministry school, and the opportunity I’ve been given to step into leadership of a nonprofit widows and orphans ministry. I get to be their Executive Director, and they’ve been going as a nonprofit for 7 years. That’s a huge inheritance, fam. I see God honoring my faithfulness to step into a learning season, and then giving me this giant graduation present of loving on Ugandan widows and orphans and reminding them how incredibly WORTHY they are. They are His Pearls, and my new sisters and jjajjas and kiddos. I have so much family now, and I love them. It blows my mind that Jesus trusts me with them, but He totally does. He’s like “SURPRISE!!” and His face is so full of excitement, and His eyes dance over me, watching my joy rise to meet His, my awareness coming in to fully absorb the fresh heavenly reality of a new piece of my inheritance. I had left a piece of my heart in Uganda, and now I realize it was a seed. It has grown!
And I forgot all about my orphan days. I forgot that I started from the bottom, and now I’m here. I forgot that I put in any kind of work, because my Father is the best Father, and He gives me extravagant gifts, like hearts and sunrises and nations. He walks me across bridges I’ve never been, and tells me secrets. He takes me up high on hot-air balloon rides, and to exquisite gardens. He clothes me with dignity and strength. And I tell you, I promise you, I never ever have to work for this kind of inheritance. Not for a minute do I need to worry, or labor, or behave as to earn anything. It just is mine because I have the Family name. And it’s yours, I tell you.
On the sidenote of service: knowing who you are in Christ makes you better at serving, because it revolutionizes service. Jesus was King AND washed feet. He did it from utmost royalty, even the most humble of acts of love. That…… that’s the example. That’s not a self-starter, but a servant-hearted Son. Nothing was beneath Him. He didn’t HAVE to, but chose to. He could look people in the eyes and truly love them. That’s the heritage of a really really good Father.
What has He given you? With what piece of the Kingdom have you been entrusted?
Don’t buy the lie for a second that you have to build it yourself, earn it yourself, or keep it yourself. You can work hard, you can appreciate, and you can steward, but you too will forget that you ever started from the bottom. You know how to receive and how to give. You know how to release gifts back to the Father, and know He’s trustworthy to keep them for you. You are His beloved. You are His chosen. You are favored. Oh, and you are trustworthy with the treasures that are most precious to the Father’s heart.