We do a lot of creating and crafting with our youngsters, as many (or most) programs surely do. One tradition we have with our kids is passing out individual water bottles, usually at the beginning of our summer day camps or Sunday school year. These are to be kept by the students and can be used for hydration and re-filled as needed. The first thing that is encouraged, though, is decorating the water bottle. At the very least, it needs to have a name or initials so that everyone knows who it belongs to. Beyond that, though, most children are eager to pile on stickers, symbols, and pictures that define or elaborate on who they are. Some opt for favorite colors or sports teams. Other kids pile on pictures of favorite animals or characters. If done with enough enthusiasm, the water bottles are so well-crafted that anyone can tell whose it is even without finding a name.
What if our life interests and passions were like that? What types of things would you choose to define and illustrate who you are? I think back to the high school decisions of what symbols would adorn class rings and Letterman jackets. The music note, the mascot, the running foot, or the cross? Birthstone or favorite color? Just a name, or fun nickname to boot? It is always interesting and often challenging to contemplate the features that we associate with ourselves or those which others associate with us.
But actually it isn’t too far-fetched to wonder or imagine how others might describe us in terms of what defines our priorities. If displayed properly, our actions and interests ought to point others back to Christ. Our sincere goal should be to live in such a way that leaves no doubt as to our faith and devotion to the Lord. This is not done by words alone. Nor is it communicated by bracelets or T-shirts or perfect attendance at church. Rather, following the direction of the apostle Paul, we should…
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… -Philippians 2:3-5
We demonstrate being one with Christ’s likeness when we are daily, deliberately, placing the concerns and needs of others before our own. It isn’t easy. It takes conscious effort and sacrifice. But with enough practice we can not only communicate our care and devotion, we can bring others joy, and in so doing reap benefits of our own. Most importantly, we can proudly bear and proclaim our designation as Christians, a term which literally means “Little Christs.” let’s live up to that.