Skip to content ↓

The Least of My Children’s Accomplishments

The Least of My Childrens Accomplishments

I sometimes think about David—King David who longed to be the temple-builder but who learned he would need to content himself with being the temple-preparer. He had the vision, he laid out the plan, he gathered the material. But he did not live to see as much as one stone laid upon another.

David’s motives were good. He knew that while he lived in a fine palace of cedar, the ark of God was still in a plain tent of skins. He was grieved by this, and rightly so. The prophet Nathan saw it too and said to David, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.” But God immediately intervened and laid out a better plan. “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–13).

God’s plan was that David would be a man of war who would destroy the enemy, subdue the land, and establish the monarchy. When that had been accomplished, David’s reign would give way to the reign of his son and Solomon would be a man of peace who could focus on building and consolidating. Solomon’s greatest work would be the temple in Jerusalem.

I sometimes think it must have been hard for David to learn that he would not be the temple-builder. It must have been disappointing when his idea was sound and his motives were pure. He longed to build a house that would display the glory of the Lord, a temple befitting Israel’s God. It must have been hard to know that he would never build it and that he would never see it.

But then I also know what it is to be a father and to take pride in the achievements of my children. I had not been a father for long when I learned that the least of my children’s accomplishments by far outshines the greatest of my own. Their smallest victory generates more delight than my largest and their smallest feat proves more significant than my greatest. Any joy that comes from my own achievements pales in comparison to the joy that comes with theirs.

I had not been a father for long when I learned that the least of my children’s accomplishments by far outshines the greatest of my own.

Any parent knows this, which is why we so easily pull our own diplomas from the walls to make room for our children’s and why we relegate our old trophies to the attic so we can display theirs. Our albums fill with pictures of our children and we recount to others their every accomplishment and their every victory. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth,” wrote John. And we intuitively understand this. We have no greater joy than knowing our children are walking in the truth, walking in love, walking in competence, or merely walking at all!

And so even while David may be been sorrowful that he would not be the one to build the temple, he must have been overjoyed to know that the task would fall to his son. Even while he grieved that he would never see it, it must have warmed his heart to know that his son would not only see it but build it. The least accomplishment of his child must have counted for infinitely more than the greatest of his own. For that’s simply what it is to be a parent.


  • The Least of My Childrens Accomplishments

    The Least of My Children’s Accomplishments

    I know what it is to be a father and to take pride in the achievements of my children. I had not been a father for long when I learned that the least of my children’s accomplishments by far outshines the greatest of my own. Their smallest victory generates more delight than my largest and…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 5)

    A La Carte: 3 waves that have shaped evangelical churches (and a 4th on the way) / When is a couple considered married? / A Christian’s practical guide to reproductive technology / Don’t be half a Berean / Wisdom is work / This body is only the seed / Book and Kindle deals / and…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 4)

    A La Carte: The blame game / Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be / A kind invitation and lifelong friendship / Steered into error by those closest to you / Satan as “prince of the air” / Under the eaves / General market books / and more.

  • Bring Your Skills to the Missions World

    This week the blog is sponsored by TWR, also known as Trans World Radio, and is called to reach the world for Christ by mass media so that lasting fruit is produced. Pete and Debbie Lee were living the American dream. The parents of two children, the Lees lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, and were…

  • How can you mumble

    How Can You Mumble?

    Some of my most meaningful moments of public worship have been in settings where I did not speak the language. I have stood with a congregation in rural Zambia as they’ve clapped and moved and praised the Lord in Bemba, a language that is utterly unknown to me. I’ve sat with a congregation in the…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 3)

    A La Carte: Life doesn’t always turn out like we thought it would / Hope for fallen Christians / AI as theological babel fish / Teenagers and parental hypocrisy / Is there a preferred Bible translation Christians should use? / Logos and Kindle deals / and more.