I was at my local park the other day, and after I skated around for a bit I went to the back of the park so I could work on some flatground tricks by myself. There were only 2 other people at the park so I thought a solo flatground session would be feasible. But shortly after I started this kid (probably 11 or 12 years old) came over and started skating with me. At first I was a little annoyed and said things to myself like, “why do you have to come over here right when I start,” and, “you have the whole park, go skate something else.” Not my finest hour, I know. As we skated for a while I started to enjoy the company, and as I watched this kid, I noticed that every time he would try a trick he would look up at me, either to see if I was watching or if I was going to respond with praise or not.
As I sat there watching him it reminded me of when I was that age, and how much I loved the praise and approval of all the older skaters. When there was someone that was older that was really good that gave me praise for my skating, it was like the best feeling in the world. When I realized that I tried to keep expressing praise for the tricks that he was doing, and I could tell that it meant a lot to him.
As I skated with this kid for a bit, I realized that for some reason we were all created to need some type of assurance that we are doing good and that we mean something in the world. That void usually gets somewhat filled by our parents, then when get a little older it’s by people we look up to, then the last step should be our Father in heaven. Acts 17:27 says, “That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being.” That longing for assurance that our lives mean something was put in us in order for us to feel our way to God – the only one that truly fills that void. All the steps along the way (parents and role-models) are just glimpses of something better.
Along with this, me being annoyed at first by the kid that wanted to skate with me is a misrepresentation of the Christ in me. A cool thing about this is that we get to show people what our God is like. When we extend that praise and assurance that we have experienced from Christ to others, we get to give people a glimpse of what it means to know Christ. Be quick to express praise to the little homies at the skate park, it may be the only expression of Christ they see that day.