I snapped this picture the other night after J.D.'s football game. He's our oldest son and he's hanging on to our youngest son's hand. J.D. told Jesse he could walk with him to the locker room and our little man was thrilled. Big bro (13) was making time for little bro (5) and I was grateful.
I loaded my pictures that night and this one quickly become my favorite. It brought me joy as a mom and perspective as a person. I looked at it and instantly a quote from the great, late John Wooden came to mind. He encouraged his former UCLA players with many words of wisdom including these - "A careful man I want to be, a little fellow follows me. I dare not go astray for fear he'll go the same wrong way."
I’ve shared these words with our first born before and have appreciated them in the past, but I trust God timed the reminder for me and am grateful He’s taken the lesson deeper. I’ve been mindful of the example I set since I was a high schooler and became even more conscientious of this when I became a teacher and a coach. I’ve always appreciated the role models I’ve looked to and those who’ve shown me the way be it on the basketball court, in the classroom or my role as wife. Others have influenced me as a mom, friend and women in ministry. I’m grateful for their insight, wisdom and prayers.
As I glance at the picture a verse comes to mind as well. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:1 say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” That’s a verse we must all make our own. I long for my oldest to be mindful of this, but realize I must be as well.
Friend, others are not just watching us, they are following us too. If you are a Mom this begins in your home…with 5 kids of my own, I know they see much. My husband and I try to teach them a lot, but like the old saying says, “More is caught than taught.” Our kids, and others as well, see the way we act, and react, they hear the way we talk and observe the life we live. If our actions don’t match our words…they know. They see and know all the practical things, but they understand and observe the spiritual stuff too. Even young kids know there is a difference between going to church and living a life for Christ, they get that talking about prayer and praying are two different things. God sees our hearts and He knows our motives; the people following us get a glimpse of this as well.
So let’s ponder on these questions…"Who’s eyes are on you?” “What example are you setting?” “Is someone eager to take your hand like little Jesse took J.D.’s?” “Are you willing to let them?”
And some more to get us thinking about the flipside…"Who are you watching?” “Are the examples you follow ones that lead you to Christ?” “Are you appreciative of the ones who help you walk in a manner worthy of the calling you’ve received?”
Let me close with a few more thoughts…our little Jesse is a people person and makes friends real fast - in minutes J.D.'s teammates become his "best friend". Our oldest never says much about this, but the night this picture was taken J.D. had a grin…he was doing what big brothers do. Jesse chose him and he responded.
Friend, are you a big sister in the faith? Let me assure you the answer to that question is yes - you have walked with Christ longer than someone. When she wants to take your hand and be part of your life, what will you do?
Don't let thoughts of perfection or the lie that you're not good enough scare or discourage you...instead do what my oldest did - invite them into your life and be mindful that they are watching. Share, encourage, pray, be transparent and point them to the perfect One!! May we remember this will only happen if we first are following Christ...are you doing that today??
Dear Heavenly Father,
Lord thank you for the example Jesus has set for us. He is the ONE we need to follow, help us set our eyes on Him today. May we follow Him down the middle of the middle of the road. And as we do, may we be mindful of the example we set and the ones who are watching. When others need prayer, encouragement or love help us stop and provide. Thank you for the examples you've placed in my life...they show me how to live, love and be like You. I'm grateful for the friendship, listening ear, caring touch, comforting words and convicting Truths they share. Help me do the same. Abba Father, I long to make a difference for you and in your family, fill me with your Spirit so that I can do and say what you lead me to. Finally, Lord help me be discernful as I watch others. Give me wisdom to look to ones who are following you. In Jesus' Name...Amen
May this song encourage you to follow the ONE who knows the way!!