And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
It is one of my favorite pictures. It was several years ago when Blake and Sarah were stationed in Savanah, Georgia. He serves in the United States Army and they are one of thousands of families who make the sacrifice to go where they are sent and do what they are called to do. Now, of all the places the Army can sent a family, Savanah was good duty. The oldest city in Georgia and located in the Southeastern side of Georgia it is rich in heritage and about 25 miles from the beach. Not bad.
Well, one day Judy suggested we should go down and see them. Let’s see…family, grits, history and pralines (in case you don’t know they are a crisp or semi-crisp candy typically consisting of butter, brown sugar, and pecans. You need to try them.) Yup…sounds like a great idea. So we load up the van and off we go. Its about an eleven hour drive and we broke it up into two days because we are not as young as we used to be and to us the journey is part of the adventure.
When we arrive in Savanah, there are the usual “big hellos” and “what’s happening?” Soon after come the next two big questions—what are we going to eat and where do we want to go. We decide to go to the historic downtown. If you have never been to Savanah it is hard to describe this special part of the city. It is a series of parks, literally block after block, filled with trees, flowers, monuments, and fountains. Oh, and there is a Five Guys Burgers and Fries nearby. It can’t get any better. It’s like the Southern part of heaven.
After three or four blocks of strolling I decide it is time to sit down. So I wander over to an empty park bench and sit a spell. As I sometimes do, I lean back, locking my hands behind my head and just relax. The birds are singing, the squirrels are playing and life is good. And then, it got better. While I am sitting there doing my relaxing thing, my grandson Will, who was about four, comes over to the park bench and eyes his Papa. What he does next is recorded in a photograph and in my heart.
Will, with a bit of a struggle, climbs up and sits on the park bench. He then gives me a look, raises his hands behind his head, locking his fingers. He is being like his Papa. He is doing what he sees me doing. Judy, with the keen eye of a great photographer and grandmother, snaps the picture. It was only when we got home did we see the true beauty of the picture. Today, a copy sits on my desk in my home office and it is indeed one of my treasures.
Will reminded me that day there are always people watching and looking and often imitating us. Sometimes they are family, sometimes they are fellow church members, sometimes neighbors, sometimes even strangers. But they are watching and looking to see what we are going to do, how we are going to react and then they do what we do. That might be the reason when one of Jesus’ disciples ran—then they all did. It might be why when one shouted “crucify Him,” they all did. This picture makes me pause and ask, “What are my kids, my grandkids, my friends, the yet to be friends around me, seeing when they see me?” What do they see at the park, in Wal-Mart and yes, on Facebook? Hmmm.
The guy who wrote Hebrews says that we should consider—we should weigh carefully—how we may spur one another on toward love and good works.” In other words, the things we do and say should cause others to do good—and not to do evil. We are to be beacons of light shining out into a dark, rough, and dangerous sea. I guess I really love that picture because of the innocence of it all. But what if, what if, that same picture showed me being hateful or rude. What brings me joy would, and should, then bring tears. Today is a new day. I like new days. New days say I get another chance. Let’s use this day with the knowledge that people are watching and we get to show them the way to get it right—not wrong. I know, it is a daunting task…but we have a great, big God pulling for us. Just like I got to set an innocent example for Will, so Jesus has set a sterling example for us. Just follow the leader and you can’t go wrong. So, climb up on the bench, sit a spell and rest. He’s got this.