(Bob is a frequent commenter on this blog, and always has a wise perspective to share. This is a repost from his blog “Eagles Rest.” Enjoy)
While all the multitasking bloggers were typing the live blogs at the ID Conference in Jackson, I was making notes of ideas. Dad always said to use all the brains I had, and all I could borrow, so I’m usually on the lookout for ideas I can steal.
Let me put it this way: I have ELEVEN pages of ideas I want to write about. I figure, all in, I got about 15 cents apiece in them. BIG bargain. But the idea I want to wax warm about, now, has nothing to do with that. It was an offshoot of my previously-referred-to session of vegging in the hotel and going a few rounds with C.B. and Alan Cross. Here’s what happened:
I made the remark that being around them, and the other bloggers, kept me on my toes. That’s a Good Thing. But there was also the subtle influence that being around folks who respect you makes you want to be a better person.
Well, it makes you want to at least put on a good front. But if you’re sincere, it’ll actually make you want to be a better person.
I experience that with my Sunday School class. When I began teaching the class on a permanent basis, I tried to put my best foot forward. But then, as I grew to love them, I knew that couldn’t be a “front”. I knew I had to be what I was trying to represent to them, that I was. Suddenly I wanted to be that person.
Dads experience that sort of thing, in an inverse sort of way. If you have a good relationship with your kids, they’ll think you’re this perfect person who can fix anything. In that case, of course, you know the day is coming when they’ll discover you’re really human and cannot always fix their broken toys. That starts “role reversal” in which they see you as more and more human, as the stumbling blocks of age become more frequent, and ends with the child becoming the parent, and sometimes the provider, for their biological parent. It’s painful, but it’s necessary, and you’d best understand it before it overtakes you.
In the case of my SS class, they started out knowing I’m human, and the respect they showed then has grown as we’ve experience spiritual growth together. And I think they love me, too, as I do them. And that makes me want to be what they think and hope that I am. That I’m really how they see me to be.
That’s a staggering thought, and a role we cannot possibly fill without the renewal of the mind and the newly-created clean heart, both of which only God can do.
On the way home this afternoon, driving alone, it struck me that this is exactly what God wants of me, but not just what my kids or my wife or my SS class thinks me to be. Not just what they expect of me. No, what I need to be is what the world needs to see in me. Put another way:
I want to be
What the world needs to see
I’ve resented, for some time, the thought that we ought to “show forth” this or that. What we do and who we are shouldn’t be based on any effort to put forth an image, to appear to be a certain thing, or to establish a particular reputation. Jesus never did anything of the sort. He simply WAS Who He was. Period. In God’s plan, He needed to be just that. And He was.
That’s how it should always be, for us. So spend some time around some folks who respect you, and be reminded that you should be what they believe you to be.
They may never know the difference, but God does.