Monday, October 10, 2016

Choose Carefully - Wisely

Several years ago, Charles Barkley, a professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers, was widely criticized when he said that he didn’t want to be a ‘role model’ for youngsters. He thought that a child’s ‘role model’ should be their parents. And I must agree with Charles on this issue. He was definitely NOT a ‘role model’ in character that I would have wanted my son to follow, if I’d had a son; in skills perhaps, but that would be the extent of it.

Charles, so much like many of our ‘star athletes’, are admittedly promiscuous, many have unhealthful habits, usually during their off-seasons, and unfortunately, several have been brought up on charges for domestic abuse; not good ‘role model’ material. Since the time of Dennis Rodman, an excellent power forward for the Chicago Bulls, who won the National Basketball Championship seven times in the 1990’s, nearly every other ball player, in any sport, now ‘sports’ tattoos all over their beautiful bodies, much like he did.

Now, please don’t think that I’m bashing ballplayers, or trying to put down anyone for their lifestyles. Each person has the absolute right to choose how he or she will live. God gave mankind that inalienable right of ‘free will’ or ‘free choice’, from the very beginning, which is why mankind was able to reject God and get away with it.  I totally uphold their right, to choose whatever lifestyle they wish. I also uphold the right of any parent or child to choose the role model that best represents what he or she wishes to become in life.

However, let us give diligent thought to what we are truly embracing, when we seek to follow after someone, whom we wish to have as a role model. It goes beyond choosing their vocation or choosing their work ethics; it means choosing their lifestyle, choosing their mannerisms, choosing their belief system, choosing their passion for life, choosing their demeanor and so much more. One makes one’s self a ‘disciple’ of their choice for a role model, with the anticipation of receiving, in turn, similar rewards as the one chosen. It is far, far more serious than many realize.
As a youngster, I had pseudo role models, who taught me drama and fashion. I don’t know that I much appreciate the first one now, and the second one has gotten me into financial trouble. Although I know that it is natural for young people to look up to their seniors, my prayer is that in their choosing those seniors to admire, someone close to them will help to guide them to choose carefully and wisely; their entire future could very well ride upon it.

Therefore, my life lesson for today is this: As adults, people who have seen some of the pitfalls of life and have managed to either avoid them or learned how to get out of them, please help your youth (i.e. any over whom you have influence) to choose wisely those persons that they wish to follow.

One of my favorite role models is a man mentioned in Scripture; his name is Simon of Cyrene. Mark 15:21. This man had heard of Jesus. His two sons Rufus and Alexander were disciples of Jesus, but he had not gotten there yet, to discipleship that is. But when he literally came face to face with Jesus and saw the quiet, Godlike demeanor which accompanied Him, even though He was being severely mocked and derided as He fell beneath that roughly hewn rugged cross, Simon’s heart broke and he was filled with compassion. And although he was ‘voluntold’ into the service of carrying Christ’s cross, he counted it a privilege.

Simon was a strong man of color (Black), strong in body and in mind;  he was one who was careful, with regard to where he would place his compassion and belief. He could have drawn back from the task of cross-carrying, I’m sure that many others had; but he would not. The things which he had heard about this ‘man’ Christ – about His miracles – about His compassion for others – about His character and lifestyle, all proved true, for it was apparent in Christ’s demeanor.  

Therefore, as Simon chose Christ that day, he chose his demeanor, which confirmed all that he had heard about the positivity of Christ’s life, and was willing to choose His end, if need be, for beyond the ‘apparent end’ lay an awesome future. Consequently, I choose Simon – I choose Christ.


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