Table Talk – Losing My Marbles by David Wills

Today’s Table Talk is written by someone very special to me, my brother David. I’ve hounded him for a while to share something on our blog, so I’m glad he finally succumbed. Despite the fact that he no longer will sit by me at family gathering meals (somehow things on his plate always look just a little tastier than items on mine… he doesn’t consider my roving fork the compliment I intend it to be), he puts up with me and has always been a fountain of wise council. Now, he faithfully shares about generosity through his role at the National Christian Foundation. Check it out. It’s pretty terrific. NationalChristianFoundation


(“Out of the Jar” watercolor by Janet Mach Dutton)

Losing My Marbles

OK, ok those that know me are probably thinking this title reflects that I have just experienced a sudden flash of self awareness.  No such luck.

Here’s the story: this past weekend was a life milestone for my family, but let me take you back in time…
It was some time in 2003.  I was at church listening to Reggie Joiner.  At the time, Reggie gave leadership to all the family-type ministries at our church.  On the stage was a large jar filled with marbles.  In fact, I believe, he had several jars with varying levels of marbles.

He explained that each marble represented one weekend that he had left with each of his kids before they headed off to college.  It looked to me like there were a lot of marbles in his jars and his kids were older than mine.

Well, you guessed it.  This past weekend I lost my marbles.  I started out with over 400 marbles!  It was so many I didn’t think that they would ever run out.

Come on, that’s over 400 weekends.  That’s almost 3,000 days…3,000 days!

Today, it feels like they ran out in just a few weeks.  You know, being a parent can sometimes be hard work.  The days can be long.  But the years go by fast.  Very fast.

Two passages of scripture come to mind.  One written by Moses the other by Solomon.  Moses wrote, ‘So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’  And Solomon said, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’

I now know first-hand that we must number our days and our children will go.

We said good bye at the bookstore on campus.  He embraced each of us.  We watched him cross the street and walk through the doorway into his new home…Penland Dorm.   As my wife and I walked to our car in Waco, Texas, we held each other and wept.

I am crying now as I write this.  I miss him.  I love him. I am SO proud of him. It was time for him to go…the time just went by SO fast…the marbles were gone before I knew it.

Someday, I pray, he will have a jar of marbles himself…and one day, he, too, will lose his marbles.

Are you numbering your days?  How about your days with your kids?

Train them well…they will leave sooner than you think.  And when they do, you, too, will have lost your marbles.

David Wills has served as president of National Christian Foundation since 1998. His passions are centered on generosity and eternity, and he therefore invests his time helping others “lay up treasure in heaven”. Texas natives, David and his wife, Chris, live on a farm north of Atlanta with their seven children.

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