Maybe you are like me; I hope you aren’t . . .

My natural bent is to live under the delusion that all is good if I just have enough short bursts of quality time with my wife and kids: a vacation here and there, a few significant minutes during each weekday, and maybe a few hours doing an activity each weekend. Maybe not.

Many of us want to live lives that have an eternal impact, right? But we often forget about our “backyards” (immediate family) when we pursue things that are bigger and better, but of course really aren’t when we consider the big picture.

The pastor at our church said a very wise thing that stuck with me:

“QUALITY time only happens in the setting of QUANTITY time.” 

Think about that. Quality time happens only in the setting of quantity time. Since it takes quality time to have an eternal impact in our backyard, we need to start with quantity time. This means spend as much time with your family as possible. I’m not saying you don’t have to be intentional about having quality moments. It is important to create experiences that bring your family together, teach values, and make memories. We just shouldn’t rely on a few events here and there to have maximal impact.

In Matthew 16:26, Jesus asked the deep question, “For what should it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” A variation on this question is also worth pondering: “What should it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own family?” Are we pursuing the wrong things, too many things, or (the very deceptive) too many good/admirable things, at the expense of our families?

If you like movies, a great way to have these issues hit home is to watch “Courageous”. It is an action-packed, sobering, and inspirational story about the critical importance of fathers spending time with their families. Even tough guys will shed a few tears when watching it. This is one of my favorite quotes from the film:

“You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do. Some men will hear this and agree with it but have no resolve to live it out. Instead they will live for themselves and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.”

To see this scene in its entirety:

Finally, we’ve all heard the song “Cats in the Cradle” which talks about the “absent father” and the impact on his child and on future generations.  The modern version of that song is “American Dream” by Casting Crowns. It’s a very powerful take on our busy “stuff-filled” life. There are a lot of other great “Life” resources on the Life Tools page.

I challenge us to start with QUANTITY time. Quality time will result, and we’ll have an eternal impact in our own backyards.

Image credit: The New York Times