Reflective Potential

by Alan Stewart

This morning as I was sitting in my study during my quiet time, I happened to glance up at my children's pictures that adorn my desk.  Etched inside these 5x7 photographs is a bundle of great potential, dreams, and possibilities. As I look into their eyes, I wonder what will become of their lives. I fear for them in the obstacles that await their generation. Will I have honorably prepared them? Even if God were to put me before thousands to preach, it would never compare with the trust of two He has already placed before me.

However, as this moment of reverie continued, I noticed something that caused my heart to skip a beat. There in the picture frame were not only my children's faces, but reflected in the background of the glass covering was my face! Over time, the photographs will change as the children age, but my image will still remain in the background.  What an awesome reminder that no matter where my children go or what they become, my image will always be reflected in their lives.

Life is truly more than meets the eye. Jesus understood the full effect of this principle when He said, "he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father."

One would wonder, in such a statement, who carried the greater responsibility? Was it the One who bore the image or the One who cast it? For some, the image reflected across their lives is larger than they will ever be able to live up to. For others, the image they cast is an embarrassment that neither time nor Clorox can wash away. Our children are the product of what we have poured into them.

How do we leave an image worthy of being captured in the eyes of a child? Live in the light.

I remember walking through some dark woods with my father as a child. He walked in front of me with a flashlight, and it was his light that gave me direction. Without some form of light, our image blends into the scenery, and our children spend unsuccessful years searching for us, and ultimately lose themselves.

Every step Jesus took was in the pathway of the Father's light. The more light He saw, the more of the Father others saw in Him.

Lead by love. As I look at these photographs, I see eyes that sparkle with hope, and smiles that project a sense of confidence. I'm so proud of them. I wonder if that is what the Father saw when He proclaimed, "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"? By worldly standards, Jesus was a failure. He never sat on a throne. He never autographed a Bible. In fact, all He ever had, He gave away to others. That simple quality alone displayed the leadership He saw in a Father who "so lovedthat He gave."

Labor for a legacy. Jesus makes a stunning statement in John 14: "he that believeth on me, the works I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do."  The effects of that statement are still reaping eternal rewards today. As children, we imitate athletes, musicians, and actors in hopes that someday we could be just like them. Is it my desire that my children be just like me? Heaven forbid. I pray they exceed me! For that to become a reality, however, I must leave them more than life insurance policies, houses, and land.  I must leave them an honorable life. Real legacies are not merely copied, they are built upon. That is how a heritage is formed. I trust there will someday be grandchildren who will build on my legacy.

What do you see when you look into your children's pictures? Chances are, if you look long enough or turn it to the right angle, there between the tempered glass and the cardboard backing, you will find-yourself.

Alan Stewart is pastor of Rechoboth Baptist Church

in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee

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