My friend, Mark Shriver, has a new book coming out on Tuesday called, A Good Man. The book is about his father, Sargent Shriver, who was an American statesman and activist. Among his many accomplishments, he was the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps, the Job Corps, Head Start and other programs. The book is about Mark’s journey to discover what made his father so impactful and admired on this earth. What was the foundation for his faith, hope and love?
One thing that Mark recounts is how his father would write him letters on a regular basis. He’d slip the letter under Mark’s bedroom door sometime during the night so that when Mark woke in the morning, it would be the first thing that he would see and read.
On graduation day, his father wrote:
"Happy Graduation Day, Mark, and Congratulations! Always remember, numero uno, that you are a unique, infinitely valuable person—your mother and I love you—so do your brothers and sisters and friends—but all our love and interest put together cannot compare to the passionate interest and love God himself showers on you. You are His! He wants you! And He will make you the perfect Man you are to be. Love, Dad"
Mark writes this about the letter he rediscovered many years later:
"I don’t remember what I did or thought when I got it on that day in May 1982. Nor do I remember putting it in my scrapbook.
Rereading the note all these years later, I smiled at Him calling me “numero uno.” I know he’d said the same thing to my three brothers, my sister, and my mother—to all six of us, almost every day. But he meant it, to each of us.
He’d believed that I was a unique person. Yes, he’d thought every person was unique and “infinitely valuable,” but to an eighteen-year-old kid trying to figure out who he was, that must have been reassuring. Indeed, I find those four words reassuring today.
Dad didn’t write to me on graduation day to tell me that if I worked hard, all my dreams would come true. No, he told me that I was loved by my mom and dad, my siblings and friends, and most importantly, God—and that love was far more important than any other advice or gift he could possibly give."
Today, maybe your earthly father didn’t write you letters, but your heavenly Father has an entire book of letters written to you! And, He invites you to read them each and every morning. He says, “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is My love for you.” He says, “Come to Me if you are weary and burdened down and I will give you rest.” He says, “Let Me fill you with everlasting joy which is strength. Let Me give you peace that passes understanding. Let Me restore your soul and renew your mind.” Best of all, no matter how many people are on this earth, you are always His “numero uno!” He sees you as unique and infinitely valuable, and He invites you to receive His love.
God loves you so much, and He wants to have a close, personal relationship with you. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus, into this world to pay the price for our sins so that we could live in eternity with Him. (See Romans 10:9-10.) If you’ve never received this love, if you’ve never received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I invite you to click this link for more information. Receive His love today and let it empower you with confidence to overcome in every area of your life!
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15, NIV)