At our men’s prayer group and study we talked about influencing people. One of the elders of our church talked about the benefits of playing baseball, but the lasting effect of being a coach, pointing to his son (one of our deacons…what does that say about this Elder’s influence) as an example of leading young boys to become good, godly men. This led me to a rabbit trail of considering my kids hand-me-downs. Each of our four boys has either passed down or received clothes from someone else (either from their brothers, or generous folks who see our plight and have passed on their own boys’ clothes when their kids got to big for them). If the clothes are kept in good condition, it can last for years to come. Sometimes (with our boys it seems like it’s more than sometimes), the clothes are very broke in, have wear and tear to them, and these become the most beloved of the next brother to inherit them. Sometimes, what is to be passed down is not worth it at all.
In the same way, we need to understand that all of us are handing something down to someone coming up after us. Whether we’re elders, coaches, parents, siblings, neighbors, friends, managers, coworkers or any position a human may hold that is in relation to another, every single one of us is handing something to the people we come in contact with. As a husband, I desire to fulfill my role to “cleanse” my wife “with the water of the Word” (Ephesians 5:26), as a Father, I wish to “train up” my children “in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6), as a minister/evangelist, I desire to “equip and train the saints for the work of the Gospel” (Ephesians 4:12), as a Little League Coach, I wish to encourage, exhort, teach and train the young men in my charge, while fulfilling my role to assist the head coach (Titus 2:15), as a neighbor and citizen, I wish to point others to Christ (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Every one of my roles is a role of influence, whether I am aware of it or not. Every one of your roles is the same! We’re either leading people to Jesus, giving approval of destructive behaviors (silence is consent!), or demonstrating rebellion against Him. What will you choose? In each of your roles that God has assigned you (yes He has assigned them!) take the charge seriously and make the most of the time given so that God may receive all glory and honor. So I ask you this question: what are you handing down to those who follow you? Give them Jesus and the best Christ-like example you are able to give.
1 Timothy 4:1-16
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but 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.