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 flat ground tricks by myself. There were only 2 other people at the park so I thought a solo flat ground 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 to myself, “why do you have to come over here right when I start; you have the whole park, go skate something else.” Not my finest hour, I know. As we skated for a while though 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 show him my approval.
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 an older guy that was really good gave me praise for my skating, it was the best feeling. 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 we 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. Something I often forget is that we get to show people what our God is like when we extend that assurance that they are doing well in life. I heard a pastor say the other day, “no one really cares about making money, what people are really striving for is to know that they are doing what they should be doing and are doing it well.” To know and trust Jesus is to know that we are enough, and that we are loved and valued more than we know. This assurance is not realized by many and it is part of the good news we get to share with people of knowing Christ. 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 Him. Be quick to express praise to the little ones at the skate park, it may be the only expression of Christ they see that day.
For some reason, humans are born with a need to feel valued and assured that we are doing well. How can we remember that we have all our love and value in Christ and make sure we communicate that to other people that may be lacking in that?
Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” With this in mind, people experience Christ by how we choose to love them. My first response in this story I was not acting as a disciple of Christ, thereby cutting off the supply chain in my spirit for this kid to experience Christ. How can we make sure we are loving people in a way that demonstrates to them how Jesus loves them? What are some common responses from people that are not expressions of how Jesus loves?
Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” It is important to always remember that it is Christ who lives in you, infecting the world like a virus with His love. How can we make sure that we are carrying on this infectious love instead of stopping its spread?