I am the luckiest man in the world. Luckiest, if you have a weak grip on reality and trust fate. Blessed, if you understand that God honors choices made in pursuit of Him, regardless of shortcomings.

But before writing on the subject of family – a fitting theme – I want to wish my father, Peter Kirk, a very happy 64th birthday. He taught me virtue, faithfulness, stewardship, and what it means to be masculine in creativity. But more, he showed me through years, not just words, what it meant to love Jesus and family selflessly.

Happy birthday, Daddy. ch:

WARNING: If you don’t believe in God, or even Providence, then this piece will irritate you.

Even deists will be irritated. If God is distant and uninterested in human affairs, do yourself a favor and stop reading.

Bye bye.

Everyone else – believers in God and divine appointments – how does your family rate in importance?

Now, family can be a touchy subject, so rating them can be difficult.

We all have “the crazies.” You know who I mean. Aunt Mary who smells of mothballs and cheese; Grandpa Sal who swears loudly at punk kids with long hair; and Uncle Frank who flirts with the bride at every wedding he attends.

But even the crazies are important to God. Important enough for Him to trust you with their bloodline, and their legacy – great or small.

So how would you rate your family’s importance in your day-to-day life?

Low? Medium? High?

No matter what your classification, let me help take it to the next level.

If God is truly intentional and deliberate, then of all the 7 billion people on the planet – or roughly 3 billion families – the one you were assigned to is pretty exclusive. Statistically speaking.

So important that 7 billion other people didn’t get your family.

But think even broader. You won the lottery with the most enormous odds of all, because you were born in this era, not in the hundreds previous. Which means your family was handpicked for you by God over thousands of years, not just from billions people.

It would seem He knows what he’s doing, and thinks you’re pretty special to handle the circumstances you were born into. Good. Bad. Or ugly.

When your parents bewilder you, your siblings frustrate you, your kids dumbfound you, and your in-laws freak you right out, remember: you won the family one-in-a-billion lotto.


Digesting that statistic may just be the key to letting your parents awe you, your siblings encourage you, your kids bless you, and your in-laws support you.

But there’s almost no hope for smelling like mothballs and cheese. ch:

[Photo by Joanne Nesbitt]


Brittany Trevett · 24 Sep ’11 at 6:37 am

Awesome this made me stop and kinda think
About the things I probably taking for granite πŸ™ thank you Christopher and what a beautiful picture πŸ™‚

EmClementine · 24 Sep ’11 at 6:54 am

Great thought. Love it. We pray every night with James “thank you for my family” because we do really want him to get that. Someday I’ll tell him he won the lotto πŸ™‚

Beth Walrath · 24 Sep ’11 at 7:35 am

I think about this all the time. I love my loud crazy family (my dads side) & my quiet boring family (my moms side). I couldn’t have been blessed with a better family. Out of 12 sets of aunts & uncles only one divorce & the rest have been marries over 12 yrs.
It always hurts my heart to see families not get along. Time is to short to hold grudges. Family is a gift love eachother.
Family is chosen by God, it also includes close friends. I have 2 brothers and I wouldn’t trade them in for anything. However, the Lord has blessed me with many other brothers & sisters who I consider family.
Soon I will be blessed with my own family to extend my crazy family. πŸ™‚

Sarah · 24 Sep ’11 at 8:50 am

Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Hopper. I’ll try to remember that next time it seems like my sister’s made it her goal in life to send me over the deep end. Perhaps it will help.

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 10:16 am

    Ha ha. Well, let me know how it works. πŸ˜‰

jamie rutigliano · 24 Sep ’11 at 9:24 am

Thank YOU…fOR AN EYE OPENING PERCPECTIVE!..That HE gave me my family thniking I could handle any circumstances !!!! I have alway’s wanted to win the LOTTO !…LOL

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 10:17 am

    You won the lotto indeed…every day you wake up to them. You rock, Jamie.

Billy Jepma · 24 Sep ’11 at 10:37 am

That was awesome, I haven’t thought of that before. Thanks Christopher, that was really great. Now, whenever it feels like my family is, driving me crazy, I know that I was hand-picked, from billions and billions of others for this family. And God has a plan for us, thanks again man. πŸ™‚ Btw, that’s an amazing picture. You guys rock!

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 4:17 pm

    That you were, bro! And what a stylin’ tribe you got, too. Love your guts.

bethany · 24 Sep ’11 at 11:46 am

WOW!! this is good! thanks for the eye opening spin on family πŸ™‚

Ryan Paige Howard · 24 Sep ’11 at 3:14 pm

Beautiful post CH… thank you for sharing. I greatly love my family at home and rate them pretty high πŸ˜‰ God really blessed me. My extended family is a different story though. This year was the first time in ten years I’d seen my dad’s family, due to a good reason, but at the same time it’s pretty sad.
I like how you put this β€œIt would seem He knows what he’s doing, and thinks your pretty special to handle the circumstances you were born into. Good. Bad. Or ugly.”
My dad’s dad was an ugly guy with an ugly heart. During the last few years of his life on this earth my dad prayed for him and often talked about God with him… he wanted nothing to do with God and showed it every way he could. On his death bed he called for my dad who drove three hours to show him how to pray and asked Jesus into his heart. Ugliness instantly turned into beauty.
Family is important, a grand gift to cherish, something we need to not throw away. I want to be a light for the lost ones in my family and I don’t want to forget that. Also to always have patience with the crazy ones πŸ˜‰
Congrats to your new beautiful addition to your beautiful family and happy birthday to your dad!

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 4:25 pm

    Very cool story, Ryan. Thanks for sharing. While not entirely the same, it is very close to my father’s who led his dad to Jesus 3-days before he died. Rejoicing with you my friend!

Tom Brennan · 24 Sep ’11 at 4:34 pm

What’s so bad about mothballs and cheese? I am offended.

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 5:17 pm

    Uh….absolutely….uh…nothing. I – I – I…ummmm…

Tom Brennan · 24 Sep ’11 at 4:35 pm

Kidding! Great perspective Christopher. God made you special, and He loves you very much.

mooney · 24 Sep ’11 at 5:38 pm

So. Did i win the lotto? cause if i won, my families a bunch of losers. Lol joking. Awesome blog, as usual

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 9:36 pm

    Oh gosh. LOL Good thing your dad isn’t a US Army Ranger RET or anything…

Mary Trapasso-Ayers · 24 Sep ’11 at 6:20 pm

I would just like to say that I bear no resemblance to the Aunt Mary depicted in this article. I do not smell of cheese and mothballs. Hahaha. We actually had a Crazy Aunt Mary. I may bear some resemblance to that title.

Great writing and insight Chris, as always. πŸ™‚ Congrats on your new baby boy and beautiful family. God bless.

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 9:36 pm

    Ha ha ha. That’s priceless. Thanks for laughing with me, Aunty Mare. πŸ˜‰

Glade · 24 Sep ’11 at 9:33 pm

I am proud to say that God has blessed me with a large family. And even though hard times come, and we are forced apart, I will still love them and thank Him for them! God bless happy families! We don’t know how lucky we are!

    Christopher Hopper · 24 Sep ’11 at 9:35 pm

    It’s so true: we really don’t get the value of what we have. Sometimes things that are so close are nearly impossible to see due to their proximity. Glad I’m able to help many – including myself – draw attention to the little things right in front of us.

Debbie Allen · 25 Sep ’11 at 7:58 am

I’m just thinking about the fact that, of all the millions of other church families around the world that could have been blessed with you and your precious family, we won the lotto when God sent you to New Life. Glad I “bought that ticket” when I did!! Love you, Christopher, oh so much.

    Christopher Hopper · 25 Sep ’11 at 9:57 am

    How can someone have a bad day when a Debbie Allen is in their life? Amazing.

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