Sitting in church this Sunday I noticed something. From where I sit each week you can see a good deal of the crowd on the opposite side of the auditorium. And when people walk in, you notice them. So this family walks in. Mom. Dad. Two kids. Just two kids. An older girl, maybe 10 and a younger boy, around 5. Good looking family. Mom walked in with the daughter and son was guided to his seat by his dad.

My wife and I call this “man-to-man” parenting. For each child there is a parent. And as far as keeping up with them in the store and keeping them still in church – all things being equal – it’s easier.

We’ve actually experienced this even though we have three children. One will be elsewhere and we will only have two to keep up with. Knowing how it is with three, two seems so much easier.

So I looked at this family and I thought, “Two kids to get ready in the morning, ahhhh, sounds nice and easy.”

But then it hit me, “Easier but not fuller.”

I can’t even think about the face of our third without realizing this.

Now don’t jump to conclusions here. The number of kids is not really the issue here. Even a family with one could say the same and it be just as meaningful. No less so than me or the family with six.

The reality is even bigger than children – easier is not necessarily the best of all possible scenarios. This is true for parenting and work and money and life in general. Though all the world is always clamoring for ease – and sometimes rightly so – those who sit in the shadow cast by the cross should get this. Ironically it should be easy to see.

It’s true; the ease with which we can do so much is a result of The Kingdom pushing into the kingdoms of this world. But we need to wrap our heads and hearts around the fact we’ve been born through much difficulty. Precious blood was spilled so we could be children of God.

My temptation is to look across the crowds and envy others. Why do I envy them? Because they seem to have it easier. But then I remember my family. My home. My friends. All God has given me.

And then I can say, “Easier but not fuller.”

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