the weblog of Alan Knox

Just smiling and cheering for his dad

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in discipleship | 6 comments

Just smiling and cheering for his dad

For the last few days, I’ve been fighting a cold. So, Sunday morning, when we gathered together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, I tried not to get too close to most people – which was very difficult to do. But, Margaret told me to especially stay away from the babies – which is even harder to do.

I decided to sit across the room from my little friend Will, who just turned 7 months old. He was sitting on a blanket on the floor near his mother and father and some of their family and friends who were spending the weekend with them.

Will’s dad had brought his guitar, and was playing while we sang a few songs. A couple of the songs were about praising God.

Will sat on his blanket staring intently at his dad. Occasionally, Will would break out into a huge grin (ear to ear) and wave his arms around and sway back and forth. Then, he would stare at his dad again. He repeated this several times.

So, while we were singing songs about praising God (among other things), Will was watching his dad, smiling, and waving his arms.

And, of course, it hit me… that’s a picture of praise.

When we keep our eyes on God (our Father), and we cheer and celebrate when we see him doing something wonderful (even – or especially – when we don’t understand it)… that’s praise.

Of course, we also praise God when we submit ourselves to him and live in a manner that honors him. We also praise God with our words and songs.

But, perhaps the start of praise is always being awed and amazed at what God has done (both in the far and near past), what he is doing (close by and far away), and what he will continue to do (both in the near and far future).

I love it when God teaches me through “living parables” like this. To me, a “living parable” is an episode of life (usually simple and common and easily recognizable) in which God teaches a big spiritual lesson.

How about you? Has God ever taught you something through some kind of “living parable”? Care to share it with us?


6 Comments

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  1. 2-25-2013

    On my way home from work – there’s a church building at the intersection of two busy streets. The church has entrances and exits on both of streets. When the traffic backed up – people would cut thru the parking lot to get to the other street and bypass the stop sign at the intersection – or when both sides were backed up – people would turn around in the parking lot and go back where they came from.

    The leaders of the church evidently decided that all of this traffic thru the parking lot was not a good thing. They put up a chain across the entrance on the busiest street with a sign ‘No turning around here’. This entrance was blocked except during service times. That happened about 4 or 5 years ago.

    My wife and I were going past there on a Sunday at 10:00 a.m. last week – service time at that church. I noticed there were about 10 cars in the parking lot. Sad thing about this is – this building is built right where the church planting people would have you build – right in the middle of two very large new neighborhoods (at least new when they built it). Perfect demographic right?

    I thought when I first saw that sign that it probably said everything I needed to know. Now I think that even more.

    “No turning around here”.

  2. 2-25-2013

    Oh yes! Often. Here are some examples from nearly ten years ago.

    http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/2011/09/4th-june-2003-index-15th-july-2003-this.html

    And another that always comes to mind is a parent walking slower than usual, holding a toddler’s hand, letting the little one walk at their own pace, but providing security, safety and presence. These are the very things that our heavenly Father provides us.

    How often does he proceed at my pace when he could easily go so much faster? He could pick me up and carry me but he knows I need to learn to walk. He provides security, safety and presence as I do so.

  3. 2-25-2013

    We’ve a grandson (Lucius) who just turned 1 year old. He recently learned to connect lights with wall switches. Whenever he goes into a room with a light, he looks around on the walls for a switch. Take him to it, and he will delightedly turn it on, and look at the light, turn it off, and look at the light–for as long as you care to play.

    When he first began this, we clapped for almost every on-off sequence. He smiled broadly, almost taking a baby bow. We still do it some, and he claps with us. The clapping helped encourage him as he was learning. His fine motor skills get a workout as we have regular wall switches, paddle switches, and dimmer switches: he can do all of them now.

    As I was clapping with him yesterday, his delight was a bit less. He was still busily doing the on-off, but he didn’t do it solely for the clapping. I can’t tell you how much I love this little boy, and he has my undivided attention. Made me think. He was busy, and good at it, and the clapping kind of got in the way. He was now clapping for my benefit, almost annoyingly and with little personal joy–grampa wanted to clap, so he clapped, then quickly returned to the work with an intense look as his little fingers moved along.

    God claps with us when we first learn something. We shouldn’t keep expecting that clapping. We shouldn’t be doing the work just to get the clapping. Doing whatever it was he helped us learn becomes its own satisfying work, and not just a way to get attention and applause.

  4. 2-25-2013

    Thanks for sharing more “living parables”!

    -Alan

  5. 2-26-2013

    “…a parent walking slower than usual, holding a toddler’s hand, letting the little one walk at their own pace, but providing security, safety and presence. These are the very things that our heavenly Father provides us.”
    What a marvelous picture of God’s patience with us…even slowing down to match our pace!

  6. 2-26-2013

    Tom,

    Yes, that’s a great lesson, isn’t it?

    -Alan