Count the Cost and Spend It

Dr. Walt featured in September 2019 Christian Medical and Dental Associations Blog written by Al Weir, MD.

“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them…He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me…’” (Mark 10:13-14, NIV 1984).

It was 1984 and the occasion was our daughter‘s sixth birthday. My father had become very concerned I was working so hard. Up to 60 to 80 hours a week. It was good work. Comprehensive patient care including spiritual care.Teaching residents, students and fellows in our teaching practice. Performing nationally recognized peer-reviewed, community-based studies. Faculty appointments at 10 medical schools. All was good.

But Daddy was concerned. He was concerned for me as a person, as a husband and as a father. He was concerned for my wife and my children. He prayed for me, but he did not know how to communicate his concern. I was working too hard for the wrong thing—financial security.

Then the Lord gave him an idea. After calling Kate on the night of her 6th birthday, he asked her to put me on the phone. After saying hello, he said “Congratulations.”

I said, “For what?” I thought he must be referring to one of my awards or recognition.

He softly replied, “For Kate’s birthday.”

I was momentarily confused. Then he said, “One-third of your life with her is over.”

His meaning and the conviction of the Holy Spirit hit me like a tsunami. Barb and I begin to pray about this conviction and what we should do. Ultimately, with the concurrence of my partners, I cut back to eight half-days of work a week. Not a minute more. It was a one-third cut in work time, but a 50 percent cut in take-home income. Barb, Kate, Scott and I had long discussions about budgets and financial applications. We all decided the sacrifices would be worth it.

I took off every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The early afternoon for each of those days was just my Barb time. Then, when the kids got home, Tuesday afternoon and evening was just for Kate and me; Thursday afternoon evening was just my Scott time.

Fast forward to the year 2000. Kate, now in college, is studying at the Focus on the Family Institute (FOTF). CMDA and FOTF are having a physicians’ conference in Colorado Springs. Kate is attending with me and we go to a parenting seminar taught by Dick and Linda Swenson on parenting. My job is to introduce Dick and Linda. Kate and I greeted them, and then I sit down to briefly review the introduction. Kate, however, says, “Daddy, can I introduce them? It would really mean a lot for me to do so.”

I couldn’t see a reason why not, so I said, “Okay.”

At the appointed time, Kate stood up, called the room to attention and began her introduction: “Hi, everybody. My name is Kate Larimore. My daddy is Walt Larimore. He was supposed to do this introduction, but I asked him if I could. Here’s the reason why. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom and daddy have given me gifts on every Christmas, every Easter, at the beginning of school, at the end of school and for my birthday. Literally, dozens and dozens of gifts, but I can remember very few of them. We took trips and vacations galore, and I really only remember a few. But, after reading one of Dr. Swenson’s books, Margin, and receiving a conviction from his daddy and the Holy Spirit, my daddy chose to give me the greatest gift he has ever given me. Himself. Every Tuesday afternoon for the rest of my school days, when I got home from school, Daddy was there. We took walks together. We did homework together. We read together. We prayed together. We laughed together. I will never be the same, because of that single gift.”

Walt Larimore, MD

I hope most of you know Dr. Walt Larimore, Christian family medicine physician and prolific author who developed, with Dr. William Peel, The Saline Solution and Grace Prescriptions. When he sent me this story, I had just addressed the value of time with family and the real cost that would likely ensue from reducing my workload to focus on those I most love.

He told me this story of his own life, and then, he said, “I have found it true that ‘Where God guides God will always provide!’ You are correct that cutting back on work will have financial consequences, but if Spirit-led, it will NOT affect financial security. In our case, we had less money. A LOT less money. But we were never more financially secure. Never. We’ve found that God’s will, carried out in God’s way, will never suffer for a lack of God’s resources.”

Dear Father, Let me be the father or mother You would be. Let me count the cost and take the time. Amen.

CMDA Weekly Devotion. September 3, 2019. Al Weir, MD, author of “Whispers. A Daily Devotional for Healthcare Professionals and Their Patients.”

8 thoughts on “Count the Cost and Spend It

  • Penny Dail

    Wow Walt, what a testimony! You are an amazing man. May God continue to bless you and your family. You certainly walk the talk.

  • Jenny Allen

    I have just had this same conviction so I resigned my position as the only FP (after 4 years I has no hope they would find someone to help me) and am now seeking a position with margins so that I can have more family time, especially with our grandbabies that the Lord gave us as we want our faith to be passed on to them as we learned ours from our parents & grandparents. Thank you for reinforcing so clearly what God was screaming for years. I am listening now! I can as I am still and waiting on Him.

  • Cathy H

    Such important words, Walt. I applaud you for honoring Father and your family. Bubba and I were just talking about the importance of not being too busy. Our lives never seem to stop here so we are making an effort to take one day a week for each other and for rest.

  • CHARLES W TAYLOR

    i strongly feel that this is the real heart of the problem with today’s young people. Nobody is home, we cant be there for our kids because we are working and couple that with so many fatherless homes and it is a recipe for disaster.

  • Judy Gyde

    Great testimony, Walt! I agree with Kate. Time with daddy is so important. My favorite childhood memories were with my dad, who took my brother and me for a walk to the lake each day just before dinner. During those walks, he talked about important things and occasionally told us funny stories. Sometimes he was quiet. My how I miss those precious times. (He passed away seven months ago.)

    Now with our grandkids, I enjoy activities with them more than just giving gifts. For one of our families, we’re taking them to a concert that they will love. We recently moved to be closer to them and oh, what joy!

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