In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8
Being "Star of the Week" in Mr. Holt's class, my second-grade teacher, was a big deal. The recognition came with some special privileges. You were able to bring something extra for show and tell, pick out the book for story time, and take notes to the front office.
However, no other perk topped being line leader. Having this responsibility meant you were first to the gym, recess and, my personal favorite, lunch. Everyone else had to line up behind you and follow your footsteps. They went whatever direction you did. Unfortunately, back then I was easily distracted which meant I didn't pay much attention to my surroundings. Something caught my eye, and I ran smack dab into a pole, which caused Sally to bump into me. Like dominoes or a set of bowling pins, my classmates came tumbling down one after the other.
On that day, each student had an encounter, albeit one they weren't expecting. Following the leader had ramifications. What played out in the school hallway speaks to a broader life principle: everybody is leading somebody somewhere.
Due to the busyness of life, we often forget how our decisions, actions, and mindset influence and impact others. We don't stop long enough to consider where people would end up if they followed our direction.
From time to time, we all need reminders of the influence we hold, even Titus. The Apostle Paul, the author of today's passage, urges his protege to be a good example and walk with integrity. The same message and same call apply to us.
Our willingness to display love, extend forgiveness and show mercy matters more than we realize. What occurs on the inside gets expressed on the outside. The transformation, or lack thereof, that takes place within us ripples out and touches the lives of those around us. We want to live in such a way that people become curious about what makes us different:
By following Christ's lead, we lead others to His love and forgiveness.
By reflecting Christ's heart, we attract others to His heart.
By walking in Christ's ways, we encourage others to take their first step towards Him.
By encountering us, we hope others see a bit of Him.
So, today, remember…people are following in your footsteps.
How are your words and actions setting an example for others?
In order to walk with integrity, is there anything you need to start doing or stop doing? What is one step you can take today to make this change a reality?
God, I desire to walk with integrity. I pray that with each step I take towards You that my life would serve more as a reflection of Your forgiveness and love. I want my words and actions to point those I know towards the cross. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.