March 10, 2011
Thursday, 6:00 p.m.
Letter #169: Stand-In for the Original
What a special weekend I just had! While Michael—my stunt double—was at a youth pastor’s convention in Chicago, he graciously allowed me to visit with his wife and kids. Michaela and Madison just visited me seven weeks ago, but I hadn’t seen Katie since I was the first to find out they were expecting another child, over a year ago. As for Kade Jeremiah? Though I’ve spoken to him by phone, he didn’t say much, and I’ve only seen him in pictures.
I set up replacements for me so I didn’t have to lead worship Sunday morning, had my hair cut by a friendly murderer for the low cost of two Crying Tiger Ramen Noodle soups (retail cost: $0.78/each), showered, shaved, and put on a new T-shirt and my dress set of blue prison garb.
The plan was to visit with my nieces and nephew behind glass for a few hours, then have the rest of the visit with (sister-in-law) Katie in the visiting room. I have a blast with my nieces, and they were almost as excited to see me as I was to see them.
We got in our “hugs”—smashed up against the glass—and then I got to meet the man of the hour. As Katie held him up to the glass, he caught sight of me and beamed. That made my day! Just then, I remembered that for the first many months of Michaela and Madison’s lives, they thought I was “Daddy.” I look just like him and sound just like him and often act just like him. Because of the time Michael invested speaking to, reading the Bible to, and praying with each of his children while they were in the womb, it was as if they knew my voice as soon as they were born. Until Kade’s instant reaction, I’d forgotten my role as Daddy-look-alike. What a privilege to get to be me!
I had a beautiful visit, seeing them all for two days. My amazing mother was the tireless facilitator of the entire trip, for which I’m grateful. (She and I got to visit the next day as God opened up the opportunity for Katie and the kids to visit her Aunt Melody, a Sheriff in Tucson.)
The visit with Kade really got me thinking. Michael was away in Chicago and let me get all the joy of pretending to be him to his little boy. What a fun job I had! I didn’t have to feed him, get him dressed, or change his nasty diaper. I just got the privilege of playing Daddy for a day.
Jesus Christ has given me an even greater privilege, however. First, He said that those who do God’s will are His brothers (Mark 3:35). Then, He taught that we are the light of the world—His light to a lost world, letting our good deeds shine so that God, the Heavenly Father, gets the credit (Matthew 5:14–16). Lastly, His final words before leaving earth were to go and make disciples and teach them about Him (Matthew 28:19–20). We now have the big job of being the Body of Christ to the world (I Corinthians 12:27).
I wonder if, when people see me, do they see my Brother, Christ, in me, or do they see the old me—my sin nature? Does my character—my “voice” and my “mannerisms”—reflect the One who is their Father? I’ve been entrusted by God to take His message to a world that is still getting to know Him and sometimes will only see Him through me. In this place—as in any place I find myself—I am God’s messenger. This is a holy calling!
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:25–29 about his responsibility that God gave him to serve the church by proclaiming God’s message to them. That message, he says, was kept secret for centuries and is that Christ is in us, the hope of glory! We are living proof, with the Holy Spirit in us, that God’s glory is available for all people. We cannot help but teach everyone and warn them, Paul says. We want to present them to God, “perfect in their relationship to Christ.” What a joy it will be to see the lost united with God someday! To think I may have played a small part? God is abundantly gracious to include me.
Someday, I’ll get to see my twin holding his little guy, and someday, too soon, Kade will figure out I was just a measly stand-in and then I’ll be Uncle Christopher. Meanwhile, I’ll cherish what I have. And with the guys here, I’ll keep striving to let them catch a glimpse of their Father in me.