(Another installment of the ongoing saga of our grandson Jackson's uncanny ability to provide insights into God's way in our lives, as provided by a five year old.)
The Jackson Chronicles
"You're on my field."
Jackson spoke these words to me as I lay our den floor playing with our beagle Sparrow. We had spent the afternoon and evening watching the University of Alabama, the University of South Alabama, and some school called LSU (Lesser State University - :) ) play football on TV. Jackson, however, had not merely been a spectator. For 4-5 hours, every snap of the ball on the television screen was accompanied by Jackson's personal hike to himself, followed by a run, a pass to himself, a tackle, and even an occasional kick or a punt ("Jackson, don't kick the ball in the house!"). It was an exhausting ordeal - not for Jackson, but for the family who watched in sheer amazement as he never seemed to tire despite sweating profusely as he ran play after play.
"You're on my field, Granddaddy." More to the point, he let me know I was reclined in one of the endzones of our den - as defined by Jackson. "Jack, I'm actually lying on my floor," I responded. I wanted to be sure that Jackson realized the truth of the matter before he ordered artificial turf and goalposts that would not really fit into his grandmother's design and decor for our den. Having clarified matters, I then returned to my seat in the stands, as it were (the uninformed call it a couch). Hey, I didn't want to get run over by some huge linebacker!
The point of all this is Jackson's imitation of the players he sees on television, or at live events he attends. I am convinced that great athletes are first great imitators. They possess an intuitive ability to assimilate and interpret movements they see in skilled performers, and then translate this into their own actions. Jackson loves to watch football, baseball, basketball and golf, and he loves even more playing these sports. Watching him is a delight (an exhausting delight!), and at five years old he shows great promise of days to come when perhaps others will seek to emulate him.
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are also imitators. "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). Wonderfully, however, the Holy Spirit provides the interpretation and assimilation of the character of Christ into our experience. Rather than merely emulating our Lord as chronicled in the New Testament, our discovery of His doings unites with the truth of His living presence with and within us. In this light, the great question of our lives becomes, "What is the Lord Jesus doing as He lives and walks in us?" (II Corinthians 6:16). We "look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" in the pages of Scripture and in prayers of faith uttered to obtain His leading and enabling (Hebrews 12:2; Colossians 4:12). Our "imitation" of Christ thus proceeds from His Spirit translating our faithful looking unto Christ into faithful living by His presence within us.
Jackson's tireless imitation of athletes encourages me to seek a tireless imitation of Christ by the looking and living made possible through the Holy Spirit's enabling. I am discovering that you can learn a lot from a five year old. But let me warn you: stay off Jackson's field.
"Walk, even as He walked."
(I John 2:6)