The Art of Example

1150564_611539622273732_1656729402_o     Life starts out with examples. A baby learns to walk by watching those around her, learns to speak by listening and as she grows, imitates the large world around her in play. Life is perpetuated by example. We succumb to ‘peer pressure’, follow the trends, drive by the rules (sometimes) and learn to adapt to circumstances. And despite the individualistic nature of each person on earth, for millions life and it’s meaning and goals are similar. We have learned by the example set around us that survival is priority, when someone is in the way you push them out of it and reach what makes you happy. Life is often about examples. But the greatest examples are the ones that most people don’t follow. These are, shockingly enough, the ones that go down through history, are told and retold to the generations, with bravado and heroism. ‘Example’ is an art and it’s power lies in the simple act of standing out. Though we respond to the promptings of those around us to learn the basic functions of life, we are impacted and changed by those who don’t do what they are told. Whether the motive of their deviance is rebellion or religion, they are the ones who go from ordinary to extraordinary, simply by setting their own example.
I’ve seen this specific type of example set in incredible ways in the past months, especially through Christians who endeavor to let the light of Christ shine through them on a daily basis. In a world of survival, sacrifice does more than stand out, it is brilliant against the dark backdrop of survival of the fittest. No matter where this light appears, it stands out, and for some just knowing there is a light is enough to pull them out of darkness Sometimes the very idea of risking life, liberty and happiness is bafflingly contrary to all we hold dear and perhaps why that is what gives us life and why God called us to it. To see in the lvies of teens especially, what influences them into a life-long walk with God is part of what we do. We’ve seen over and over again the power of surrounding yourself with those who challenge you on a daily basis, tending to your walk with God like it’s the most important thing you have- because it is- and realizing the attacks of the enemy on your spiritual life is vital. This is the kind of exaple we hope to set and the difference of it says volumes in itself. As we see families called to ministry, teens inspired by teens and parents challenged by parents we hope to cultivate a culture of world changers perpetuated by the family structure. As the core unit of society, it’s impact is astronomical in it’s everyday-ness. By seeing it as an active example and using that influence on society and the world wisely, I believe in change and hope for what men would call hopeless. When He is the example through us, it is indeed true, “We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.”

(This post is an installment of a 5 part blog series written in response to a community service learning ministry trip. The topics are in relation to what was learned, experienced and observed during that time.)  

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