Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV).
I regret not being a responsible and moral leader when I was younger. I was an awful shift supervisor to my first watch crew. I didn’t understand that commanding and teaching my crew were responsibilities to do so humbly, in my own way according to the rules, and wisely. I didn’t do a very good job. Later, as a young father, I was short-fused, hot-tempered, and hypocritical. My words didn’t always match my conduct, and I didn’t usually demonstrate a good example for my kids or others around me. Others felt the consequences of my sins.
Know what? That doesn’t matter. Death comes to all of us; we’re sinners and because of that we die. Yet on our winding roads through life we’re given the opportunity to meet other people and share with them. We share life; we share stories; we share fellowship; we share Jesus. That last one is our primary mission. It isn’t to lead, or parent, or be a friend, or to acquire the most stuff. It’s to share Jesus. In doing that, we lead.
A few years ago, a fellow believer shared online that his grandson was terminally ill. That boy died yesterday, went home to heaven to be with Jesus. I never met him; his name was Andrew. But I cheered for him as he bravely lived in dignity and hope while leukemia ravaged him. It never defeated him. When death came for Andrew, hero that he was, he faced it and walked through into the open arms of the Savior, who, I’m thinking, gave Andrew a huge bear hug. “Welcome home, Andrew. I love you SO MUCH!” Satan thought he’d won again but he’s too foolish to realize he never wins. Jesus already won.
I learned a lot from following Andrew’s journey. I learned that such a fine young man was a leader in all he did. An inspiration in a dirty world full of our regrets. Those regrets never matter in the long run. What matters is how we live our lives in pursuing Jesus, in growing closer to Him. When death arrives, the regrets and possessions and sins won’t matter. Living forever in peace with Him: THAT is what will matter most.
I’m going to be away from here for awhile. Tomorrow I’m having surgery that’ll keep me away from these words for a few weeks. If it goes well, I’ll see you later. And if it goes south, I’ll see you later in heaven. No matter, live today in peace and dignity and hope, and live it fully. Love and lead and share Jesus. We’ll meet again.
For further reading: 1 Timothy 4:13.
Lord, watch over my friends and help us each to lead through You. And bless Andrew there in Heaven and those he left behind.