THIS IS A PHOTO of my first Oil painting. The date (2012/05/10) is when I took the picture. If you look closely, the painting was completed in 12/1997. Hard to believe my first Oil was 23 years ago. The story behind the painting is that Marj gave me a set of Oil paints, including a VHS tape and book by Bob Ross, for Christmas that year. I followed the step by step process as Rob worked his way through the painting. By following his ‘Example’, I completed this piece by the end of December. In the last 23 years I have completed lots more! Most of them have been featured in the last 79 weekly Blogs. I thought this painting would be a good illustration of our Thought for this week— ‘Example’. It was Rob’s Example that led me into Oil painting.
TWO THINGS HAPPENED last Sunday morning, leading to this Blog. THE FIRST: In my private Bible reading I came to John 13:15 where Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” I had already been asking the Lord to guide for this week’s Blog and the word example nearly leaped off the page!
Then I read further to John 13:17 “Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” What things? John 13:34, 35 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so, you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Can I really be an example of this kind of love?
THE SECOND THING that happened Sunday morning was at breakfast. For decades, Marj and I have the practice at breakfast of reading scripture and a short devotional from a publication called The Daily Bread. I read the scripture for the day and she reads the devotional. When she finished reading, I said, “That’s going to be part of my Blog for this week. It illustrates the power of the key word from earlier this morning— ‘Example’” Here it is:
“Kelsey navigated the narrow airplane aisle with her eleven-month-old daughter, Lucy, and Lucy’s oxygen machine. They were traveling to seek treatment for her baby’s chronic lung disease. Shortly after settling into their shared seat, a flight attendant approached Kelsey, saying a passenger in first class want to switch seats with her. With tears of gratitude streaming down her face, Kelsey made her way back up the aisle to the more spacious seat, while the benevolent stranger made his way toward hers.”
Kelsey’s benefactor embodied the kind of love one another Jesus spoke about and Paul encourages young Timothy to follow through the practice of ‘doing good’. “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:18
I don’t know if the man in first class even spoke a word to Kelsey. He really did not have to. His action spoke volumes. I suspect that anyone sitting near him in first class or near where she had started out, could see what was taking place before their eyes. I can’t help but think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” That’s the kind of loving Example I want to be. Perhaps more accurately: That’s the way I desire Jesus to manifest his love through me to those around me through ‘good deeds’.
I haven’t been on an airplane in more than a year and I’ve only flown in first class once, because the plane was nearly empty, and we were invited to first class by the flight attendant. In fact, since retirement and a change of residence two years ago, not to mention ‘social distancing’ due to COVDT19 and being one in the more ‘vulnerable’ age of society, a whole week can go by when we actually interact with no one outside our home. Where is the young mother, with the child on a flight to seek medical help for her child, in my life? Where is my opportunity?
She is seated right at the breakfast table with me! My wonderful opportunity is Marj! Look again at what Jesus said in John 13:15 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” In Jesus’ example he started with those closest to him (“for you”) the disciples who were his ‘family’ and closest friends.
Follow Jesus’ example, love—do good deeds—for the one physically closest to you! Who is that going to be today?
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15