“Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.’” (LUKE 12:13-21)
It was very important to my father to leave an inheritance to his five daughters. He was a farmer and hoped to leave the farm to us. Then in his late 70s, when it was time for him to slow down and retire, he needed to sell the farm because he could not keep up with all of the work involved. He also loved going to auctions where he collected all kinds of treasures and antiques. He had to have a couple of auctions through the years because he would accumulate too many treasures. Towards the end of his last auction, my tall, thin Dad (dressed in his usual farm uniform of jeans, denim shirt, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, straw hat with its well-trained, rolled-up brim) put his arm around my tall husky husband's wide shoulders. Dad thanked him for helping and told him he loved him. In the last few years of his life he began telling us he loved us when we would conclude a phone conversation or were ready to leave after a visit. This was really unusual for him as he came from Danish-German heritage and expressing love was not generally part of the conversation.
It was a few years after my Dad had passed on when my husband told me about this brief conversation at the auction. When my husband shared this, he said this was a life-changing event in his life. While there is no doubt his own parents loved him, it wasn't said out loud. Their actions showed their love. Anyway, the reason this was a life-changing event for him was because it meant so much to him to hear those words from an elder in his life. At that point he decided he needed to make sure he said the words, "I love you" to me and our daughters on a daily basis.
Another year passed. When I was sitting with a Scripture reading on inheritance for a Bible study class, I had an "Aha" moment. Even though our father was able to leave each of us a portion of inheritance from his estate, the most precious inheritance he left us was the expression of the three words: "I love you."
The story hasn't ended. One day I was with one of our daughters when she got a call from one of her sisters. You probably guessed it. They said, "I love you," at the end of their conversation. And now our grandson and granddaughters freely say, "I love you," to their parents, grandparents and siblings. I wonder if Dad had any idea his words had so much effect. I like to think he did.