Updated: Aug 19, 2021
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you… (Philippians 1:3–7, NIV84)
Paul should tone it down a bit don’t you think? Those Philippians are going to get the big head.
We have a neighborhood kid who loves to ride by the house while pulling a wheelie on his mountain bike. The kid’s only about 12 and yet has somehow mastered this uncanny ability. Seemingly without effort (I never witnessed his hours of practice) he pops the front wheel off the ground and then, pedaling along for a house length or so, is at ease enough to scan the neighborhood for admirers. I was outside the other day when he did this and so stopped to talk to him for a minute. He left with a big grin and popped another wheelie while I applauded.
We want people to notice when we have a gift; when we have mastered a skill.
When our children are in the process of learning to walk we think nothing of applauding them robustly for every effort. And we respond when they succeed as if they had just won the decathlon at the Olympics.
What is it that happens along the road of life that stops us from cheering for one another and moves us to criticism instead?
I haven’t seen the neighborhood kid for a while now, out doing his thing. I wonder why. I hope some wise and all knowing adult hasn’t reprimanded the young man for showing off.
Are toddlers showing off when they succeed at taking their first wobbly steps? And are we inflating their egos when we throw a party for them on the occasion? Are there kids in the world that don’t have fans cheering for them as they take their first steps? I don’t know. I certainly hope not.
Life is tough and the challenges are often daunting. And yet once in a while we dare to take a step or two down the path that yesterday was impossible for us. And when we take one of those daunting steps one of the first things we do is look around for cheerleaders. God knows we need them.
Be a cheerleader for someone today! You may change a life forever.