As I explained in the previous episode of this story my Dad left me a house deposit. My dad was key influence in my financial life. A bank manager, I remember the days when he came home to tell us that his personal lending limit had been raised to £500,000, when he got a Barclays platinum card that allowed him to spend massively without any checks and balances. When he announced these things, there was very little pride, just a humour at the ridiculousness of the situation. My friend Alex and I helped him count up over £600 just in coins after a huge funeral in the church (where he was treasurer) which blew our 11 year old minds, I remember his joy at the honour done to the deceased and the money coming to church, but utter lack of impact that money had on him. He was a banker in order to serve and help people in building their homes, families, businesses and lives. He loved working with the farming community alongside those planning for the long term. As the bank became increasingly avaricious asking him to be a salesman looking for pure return rather than investing in community, he liked his job less and less. He was a careful man where I am a risk-taker, but he taught me so many lessons that remain with me. My parents are overwhelmingly generous to their family and beyond. It was Dad who taught me that giving is to give away control; he taught me that money is simply a tool and nothing to focus on in itself and he paid for my education, my house and set me up for life through his hard work and prudence. (Mum was an equal partner in all of this; they met working for the bank.)

Caroline’s parents have rich history of living by faith, much closer to the breadline than mine. Where my dad lived by a prudent budget, they lived by faith and took in more and more people in need. They too are generous to a fault and full of faith that God will provide. Early in our marriage it would have been easy to set them up as two opposing models, but Holy Spirit has guided us to learn from them both season by season, enjoying their discipleship and model, becoming increasingly partners and peers.

It’s not arrogant to say that you build on the foundations of those who came before and get to go further because of their example, wisdom and effort. We are grateful for all they have given and are giving us.