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"The most valuable gift you can give one another is a good example"

An encouraging reminder from Jeff Daukas, Cornerstone Elder

"For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done for you" John 13:15

A month or so ago I was remarking to my wife on how richly blessed we were with our two boys, and how God has used them as absolute mirrors of accountability in our own lives. She knowingly smiled and asked why I would say that. I reminded her that as we run errands with our kids – ages 15 and 12 – they are living out the lessons we showed them by our actions. We were stopping at a store to resupply when I noticed an elderly couple walking across the parking lot. As we walked and got closer, I saw the man was wearing a Vietnam Veteran service hat and a New York Police Department (Ret.) shield medallion around his neck. Well, in our home my wife and I have committed to fostering respect and love for people as a hallmark of showing who God is in their lives, with one of the ways being by having the children stop every person displaying indicia they were a Veteran or an Officer, introducing themselves, and thanking that person for their service.

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God was entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" — 2 Corinthians 5:20

So here we are walking to the same entryway as this elderly couple, knowing we will encounter them in moments and wondering what my children will do. As we reached for a cart, my oldest "fast whispers" that the man has a "war hat" on and that he HAS to say something...I tell him to go as his heart leads him. I then watch my oldest lead his little brother and walk over to the man and say, "My name is Ethan, and this is Luke. Thank you for fighting for our country and for your service", with Luke introducing himself as well. They then turned with HUGE smiles on their faces and walked back saying, "That shows him we respect what he did, right Dad?" Of course, I was very proud and had an extremely enjoyable conversation with this couple after.

As I recounted this to my wife, I was reminded that words are fleeting at best, but actions defined and backed by the conviction of what people profess to believe are powerful indeed! My wife and I have a core belief on how to treat Veterans and Officers, which led to expressing that to our children. Our children saw this lived out as we modeled this behavior many times in their presence showing our conviction. They established a learned pattern of behavior based on the convictions set forth, and now are independently putting "shoe leather" to what they say they believe.

There is the perfect example in life of this principle found in Jesus. He came to earth, the Bible says, as the fully acknowledged and rightful Son of God. He openly with conviction lived a perfect sinless life professing His Father's Kingdom was at hand. He modeled what He spoke by His actions, as the Bible states in Philippians 2:8b as He, "...humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." His followers then and today got to see what a powerful example the Creator set forth in His Son and modeled for future generations what His truth represents. I often tell people something my former Chaplain use to say, "When you walk in the room people should see Jesus by nothing more than your actions, and when you leave people should sense His wonderful presence has left, too, and ask, ‘What was different about them?’, leading them to Christ." My wife and I got a glimpse of that mirrored through our children empowering us to continue to live out our words for our kids to see.

Who are you going to influence, speak with, or be around today? Do you recognize those situations as opportunities to show what you believe? Do you believe that just your presence can affect others? If so, believe that how you show God in your life through your actions can change the temperature of someone’s soul when they see you live out what you believe! Be the change you expect to see in others and let God handle the details!"

In Christ,

Jeff Daukas

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