My African Son Looks Just Like Me
By Shane Pruitt
Ok, fine, so he doesn’t look exactly like me. Our hair is a bit different. Mine is starting to show some gray.
Ok, I agree, we don’t physically look at all the same. Our noses, foreheads, eyes, height, weight, and of course skin color are all completely different. And, that diversity is frankly…beautiful.
However, we do share much in common:
We both get hungry, and thirsty.
We hurt, cry, and bleed when cut.
We need family, shelter, and warmth.
We need to be loved.
We both love hugs, and kisses.
Ok, I’m assuming the last one.
But, even beyond that list, we’re a lot more than just physical beings, right?
Most importantly, my son bears the “image of God” (Genesis 1:27), he is “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a wonderful Creator (Psalm 139:14), and we both have a “soul and a spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
And, a desperate need for a Savior!
Oh, that the love of the Son of God would shine through me for my son to see! The Apostle Paul would often tell the people he loved to, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). I know that the most meaningful sermon my son will ever hear will not be the one he hears me preach, but rather, the one he sees me preach in my daily life, as I live it out in front of him. The old saying “Do as I say, and not as I do” is completely useless.
My prayer for my African son, Titus, is that he would grow to:
- Love Jesus with every ounce of his being, because he was intrigued by my love for Him.
- Love the Church, because he saw me serve her well.
- Serve the Bride of Christ, because he witnessed me do it with joy and not out of a begrudging attitude.
- Cherish and honor the Word of God, because we saw me take the Word just as seriously at home as I did in a pulpit.
- Love and pastor his wife, because he saw me love and pastor his mom.
- Love and shepherd his children, because he truly enjoyed how I loved and shepherded him.
- Value good theology and doctrine, because his primary teacher was me, and I didn’t depend solely on the church to shape him.
- Help the hurting, because he hopefully saw me help those who couldn’t help back.
- Be good to orphans and widows, because I constantly taught him that it was only by the grace of God that we have anything, including, parents, guardians, and families. Often, family is a good thing to share. After all, families are not made by matching DNA, but rather, the grace and sovereignty of God.
- Be authentic, because he saw me be the same person no matter what setting I was in.
- Be a student, because he realized early on, by my own admission, that I didn’t have it all figured out. So, I always have a lot to learn.
- Be joyful, because he saw me rest in joy built on a Person, not chase after happiness built on circumstances.
- Own his faults and failures, because he saw me admit them, not hide them. He saw me learn from them, and not justify them.
- Be able to apologize, because he didn’t see me try to be perfect. He saw me embrace imperfection, press into grace, and admit to being human.
- Extend forgiveness and ask for forgiveness, because he saw me understand the gravity of my own sin and what it did to Christ on the Cross, yet that same Christ forgave me.
Wow! That’s a lot! And, a wonderfully-terrifying-beautifully-heavy task all at the same time. Or, perhaps better yet, not a task, but a calling.
Because, maybe he doesn’t look like me right now, but maybe he will one day.
A successful life is not made of money, possessions, platforms, or prestige. It’s having your children looking like you one day, and you not being ashamed, embarrassed, or regretful of it.
So, maybe my prayer request is not for him after all.
Maybe it’s for me, for you, and every person that has a ‘little one’ watching the sermon that our life is preaching to them on a daily basis.
Lord, would You just be You through me? May You preach Yourself through me everyday, so that everyday as my child/children looks more like me, they’re actually looking more like You, because, hopefully I’m looking more like You too.