Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing. -Albert Schweitzer
My sister, Hannah, recently reminded Wendy and I of a time 7 or 8 years ago when we were preparing for company. Our uncle and aunt were coming from out of state and Wendy was busy in the kitchen making bread and I was down scrubbing the dining room floor on my hands and knees.
It was a day that had faded into our memories, but for Hannah, it was one that left its mark on her young mind. Only about 8 years old, yet she was watching and relayed to us recently that she told herself that day that that was the kind of woman she wanted to grow up to be - one that bakes bread and scrubs the floor. True to her resolve, Hannah has become just that and more...she rolls up her sleeves and goes to work with earnest zeal baking bread, scrubbing floors, and numerous other household tasks and chores. Whatever she puts her hand to, she does it wholeheartedly.
Wendy and I were somewhat taken back that such common household work had impressed her mind in such a way to mold her into the young lady she is today. Then as we were considering it, we wondered, "could it be she sensed our passion for what we were doing?" Instead of finding baking bread or scrubbing floors to be drudgery, we rather kind of revelled in what we were doing. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I nearly disdain mopping; in my experience, it's nearly impossible to get the floor clean with a mop - it just smears the dirt, while on the other hand, it comes up sparkling clean after a good scrubbing the old fashion way! And anyone who knows Wendy, knows she loves baking bread!)
Often times, I fall lethargic to the reality of the influence I have on others, and that little incident was a wake up call to me. If I was an influence in what seemed to be a menial household task, in what other ways am I impacting my younger siblings or those I come in contact with? Am I a positive influence or negative? What other little eyes may be watching unbeknownst to me? Am I setting forth an example for others to follow in? What do people see me to be passionate about - is my zeal in Christ or in the common things of life such as volleyball games, chasing dreams and making money? Do I put as much passion into studying the Word and prayer as I do in other things? What about serving others, giving to the poor and helping the needy? Is my love for the Lord evident for all to see? These are areas I'm challenged in.
Just as we worked and had no idea that we were impacting an eight year old who was watching on that day, we never know what time, place or person we might be impacting in our day to day lives. A sobering thought for sure. May we be "an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)
Blessings to each one,