I have always loved history, so much so that my favorite birthday present as a kid was receiving the World Book Encyclopedia. Yeah, I’m a dork. I own that. My love for history led me to become friends with my elderly neighbor. His knowledge of local history was simply phenomenal. I loved going to their house and being regaled by all his stories about what our town was like a century ago. I was really jealous that a hundred years ago our city had street cars, opera houses, hosted the leading actors of the day, and was considered to be “little Chicago.” Like most kids, I thought my town was boring, so I asked my neighbor why our town was not as great today. His answer was quite simple: it was because of the Jews. Being a kid, who was taught to trust his elders, I accepted his teaching as fact. Years later I was conversing with others about the faults of our town and began to say, “it’s all because of the Jews,” before I caught myself. I realized I had held a very inaccurate and harmful idea for many years. I trusted my neighbor and accepted his word as truth, never knowing it may be harmful.
I realize the United States is a supercharged atmosphere right now over the issue of race. The current situation is complex, and this is not the forum for me to engage with all aspects of it. What I want to encourage all of us to do today is to set the right example for others. Rather you know it or not, your words, actions, texts, and social media postings are being heard by others. They are learning from your example, even if that example is not the right one. If we want to help transform the world for God it starts by setting a godly example.
Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:11-16
Let me end with a positive example. When I see hatred and racism I am always appalled. A major reason for this is my parents worked incredibly hard to raise me to love others regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, or cultural origin. They also set an example for what it looks like to actively live out one’s faith, even when that is difficult. So much of who I am is because of the Godly example they set. My question to you is: what legacy are you leaving? When others look at you, and learn from you, are they seeing a reflection of God? If we want a brighter world it starts by each of us shinning as brightly as we can so that others may catch a bit of God from us. Keep shining and living brightly men!