I’m sitting here in a coffee shop, enjoying free wifi and wondering when I will finally take a break to grab a cup of coffee. I keep waiting for the line to die down, but I always seem to be mid-task as it does, and then when I finish something the line seems to be out the door again. Going on 3 hours straight in this situation.
I enjoy people watching. A coffee shop in Washington D.C. is probably one of the more interesting places on the planet to engage in this activity. There is a veritable barrage of culture within my periphery as I type. I’m currently sitting on a couch with a couple of business guys at the table to my right, shooting the breeze on a break, a guy directly in front of me who looks to be a first-year intern at one of the many government buildings on this block, and two ladies who are lawyers who have been chatting (quite loudly at times) about everything from recently being called into the White House to the necessity of demanding immunity if you’re ever going to talk to the FBI. I have head phones in my ears, but I’m not actually listening to any music. This is less a matter of trying to be deceptive, and more a matter of just not having pressed play since my last playlist ended.
The reason for this blog is that I just noticed something in this coffee shop that I thought was worth writing about. A table to the right of me (which a couple members of the DC Press just sat at–name tags–everyone in DC wears name tags) was vacant about an hour ago. In walked a Mom and her son (probably around 10). They were here waiting for someone. After about 10 minutes a guy walked in and as soon as he saw this mother and son his face lit up. He looked like a security worker (company shirt) who I surmised was on a break. He had come to this coffee shop to meet his wife and son.
The first thing this guy did was walk up to his son (who was seated) bend over and give him a big kiss on the face as he put his arm around his shoulder and squeezed his neck. He then went around the table and kissed his wife. He wasn’t rushed in these two greetings, and you could tell this guy loved his family. What I noticed as he went around the back of his son’s chair to kiss his wife on the cheek was the look on his son’s face. He was captivated by this man.
After the greeting this man got into line (which as I look now seems to be the shortest it’s been all day) to grab drinks for the whole family. When he returned to the table with coffees for his wife and him and a colored drink for the boy, there was a slight spill on the table. The man quickly went to grab a napkin. That’s when it happened. The boy got up from his chair, looked at his mom with affection, and put his arm around her, kissing her on the cheek just like his dad.
It was a seemingly pedestrian series of events that took place at this little table in my periphery, but something struck me that I felt was worth writing on. It was what I saw in this boy. This boy took his cue from the man in his life. This wife/mom received the outworking, not simply of her husbands actions toward her, but the influence that these actions made on her son.
You set the tone, whether you realize it or not. You carve the path that will be travelled by the woman in your life, and the younger men-to-be who observe you. Right away you may be thinking, “Yeah, I need to take control!” That’s not necessarily the case. In fact, your legacy will probably be marked more by your ability to surrender control than to take it. Surrender control of your life to Christ. Surrender your life to Christ every single day. Learn what it means to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) on a day by day basis. Think about yourself LAST, not first. There’s a great deal being said in our cultural political narrative right now about “leading from the front.” That may be the right course for a nation, but it’s not the right course for a man. Jesus modeled a different kind of leadership. Men are called to lead like Jesus. Lead through serving. Lead with a towel around your arm. Wash the feet of those God has called you to serve. It starts with you my friend.