Later this morning, my daughter will be inducted into the National Honor Society at her high school; and like any parent would be, I’m proud. I’m proud of her intelligence and her accomplishment. I’m proud of the many gifts she possesses and the way that she has grown in the use of those gifts. I’m proud of the person she’s becoming — a young woman of ability and character — and I can’t wait to see where all of that will lead her.
As proud as I am, however, one of the things that pleases me most about her reception of this honor is that she doesn’t seem all that excited about it. When I was her age, I practically lived for the opportunity to earn the next award or to receive the next form of recognition. But she seems not to be motivated by such concerns. Of course, exactly what does motivate her is one of those mysteries that this father of a teenage girl struggles to understand. But all in all, I’m thrilled that she seems less interested in racking up achievements and more interested in expanding her capacities in those areas that bring her delight.
It makes me wonder: What are the “honors” for which we’re working these days? We may or may not be in a situation that affords us the opportunity to be inducted into societies or presented with awards. But just about all of us, I suspect, are aspiring and working toward something. A promotion. A possession. A better physique. The respect of coworkers or neighbors or fellow churchgoers. Maybe even the thrill of seeing our children achieve. And when everything is said and done, are the honors that we’re seeking the ones that endure?
In today’s Daily Office, the Apostle John cautions us:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
God is good; and as a result, we may receive in life far more honor and blessing than we truly deserve. But I pray for my daughter (and for myself – and perhaps for you, too) that we won’t set our hearts on such things. Instead, let’s seek God’s presence, God’s will, and God’s kingdom; and let’s trust that everything else we need will be provided to us as well. (Matthew 6:33)