Being watched is always an unnerving feeling. Sometimes we are being watched by something. A few years ago, while backpacking in the Smokies, a large black bear was foraging for food at the bottom of a steep hill, about 100 yards away from us. That bear never took her eyes off us until we were out of sight. She never made a motion in our direction, but she watched us the whole time we walked by. We were armed with pepper spray in the event that she charged, but we didn’t like the idea of having to use it.
Sometimes we are being watched by “Big Brother.” I suspect that the Times Square bomber wishes he had not been watched by Big Brother as the countless surveillance cameras around Times Square helped to get him arrested less than three days from the failed attack. When you walk through the parking lot at Wal Mart and other stores, it is not uncommon to see cameras focused on the parking lot. In college, I worked in security at Sears. Half of my job was spent monitoring security cameras – watching people who didn’t know they were being watched.
Sometimes we are being watched by people. You know when someone is staring at you. Sometimes it makes you feel flattered, sometimes it makes you feel uncomfortable. Ask any husband how he feels when someone is staring at his wife, and I doubt he will tell you that it gives him warm fuzzy feelings!
There are some other eyes that are watching too – all the time. They’re a different type of eye. They see the world differently. They are the gateway to wild imaginations and big dreams. And they’re always watching, always observing, always learning, always imitating. They are the eyes of our children. Not just our biological children, but all of the children in our sphere of influence. They’re watching, learning, following.
What do they see? Who do they see?
When those eyes are watching, are they seeing someone live in a way that glorifies Christ? I am reminded of a commercial that used to air. The commercial featured a dad who had found his son’s marijuana stash. The dad asked his son, “Where did you learn to do this stuff?” The son shouted back, “I learned it from watching you, Dad!” How much do they learn from watching us? How much of our behavior will they emulate? In Philippians 3:17, Paul wrote, “Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” You don’t have to remind children to “imitate” anybody. They do it naturally.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That may be true, but the question we always need to ask, “Are we worth imitating?” Would God be pleased with our children if our children behaved as we do? Talked as we do? Thought as we do? It may be flattery to us, but it may grieve the heart of God.
This Mother’s Day, the question that every mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister needs to ask is “am I a suitable example?” The truth is that we’re being watched by many things, but next to the eyes of God, the eyes that matter the most are the eyes of the children in our lives. Could we comfortably admonish our children as Paul admonished the Philippians, “Join in imitating me?” You are an example to the younger generation, like it or not. Make sure that your example is one that honors Christ!
Happy Mother’s Day,