This article originally appeared in the June 1995 issue of our newsletter. It has been updated and reprinted for our July-August 2013 magazine.

I think most of you feel as I do about many common issues. My most important personal concern is my children.

Even before I was married, my occupation, financial security, ministry, personal fulfillment, all took third place to concerns for my future children. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Likewise, what does it profit a father if he gains the whole world and loses the souls of his children?

What can be called success if your children turn out to be part of the world’s problem rather than its cure? What satisfaction can there be in the comforts of  material success if your children grow up needing counsel rather than being sought after to give counsel? If your children lie awake at night suffering from guilt and anxiety, being gnawed upon by the demons of intemperance and self-indulgence, how can you enjoy your food or your pillow?

The success of a tree and a man is measured by the fruit that is borne. The fruit of a man or woman is their children; everything else is falling leaves.

If the sun rises and sets and I never cast a bigger shadow, what of it, if my children are growing and flourishing in God’s family?

Let me die poor; let me die early; let me be ravaged by disease; just let my children rise up and call me blessed. Let me not measure my giving by the dollars I spend on them or the educational opportunities that my station in life affords them, but rather, by the hours I spend with them in fellowship.

May they graduate from my tutorship to become disciples of the Man from Nazareth. May they learn good and evil from the pinnacle of obedience rather than from the pit of despair. May they have the wisdom to choose the precious, and the courage to reject the trite and the vain things in life. May they always labor for the meat that endures.

May they be lovers of God, coworkers with the Holy Spirit, and a friend to the Lord Jesus. And when their trail ends, may it end at the throne of God, laying crowns at the Savior’s feet.