As young children, my little ones were facinated with nature. Living on 200 acres of wildness in the middle of Texas provided many opportunities to catch and classify butterflies, catch bugs, put snakes into large jars to observe, (I found one on the kitchen cabinet!) and to see how God had built lessons of life into the very warp and woof of his world.
One evening about sunset, Nathan and Joel were running ahead as we sauntered on our traditional walk after dinner. With the summer hours at night, we still had full light. Joel was captivated by a tiny any that was carrying a leaf almost 5 times its size. l
"Mama, if a tiny little bug like that can work so hard for his family aunts, maybe we could do a lot more than we think."
Three days later, we received a shipment of a printing of one of our books. Boxes were stacked high and would take quite some work to empty them onto our shelves. Late in the afternoon, however, Clay came out of our little office and found Joel, sweating profusely in the Texas summer heat, but he had emptied 30 boxes of books neatly onto the shelves with only 2 more to go. It was quite a task, and we were amazed.
"Joel, this is amazing! What made you decide to do this?"
"Well, when I was thinking about the ant and how he carried so much more than we could ever imagine possible, I thought, I want to be like that ant! I want to be strong and dependable. Something came into my head and told me to empty the books." (Yes, he really said that--9 years old. Maybe the Holy Spirit came into his head! :))
Romans 5: 8 tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He saw our failures, our sin, our heartbreaks; He heard our cries; He, out of the driving force of His own nature that always causes Him to redeem, He took initiative to serve us an then die for us.
When we learn to take initiative, we reflect the out-reaching character of Christ. LIttle by little, as we train our children patiently and teach them to take initiative to be responsible, we are giving them a strong character and familiarity to take initiative when they are strong adults. There will always be work to do and so the one who takes initiative will always be in action. Initiative teaches believers to be responsible with the work of God.
Jesus says that the harvest is plentiful and the workers few. Why? Because many people wait to be asked to help. Those with the character of Christ are out in the world with eyes looking for people to help, work for the kingdom to be accomplished.
Initiative causes us to start a small group Bible study for women in our own home because we see a need--not because someone asked us. Initiative causes us to reach out to strangers to show them the love of Christ. A spirit of initiative says, "I am God's and I will live my life for His glory. I will be His eyes to look out for places I might help, love or redeem, in the spirit of His initiation to me."
From early years, we always told our children that God had created them with a personality and skills and drives in order to bring light and His truth into their worlds. Teaching them to be responsible for themselves and for others, made them familiar, when they were adults, with the need to reach out to others and to invest their lives, even if it took a risk, to bring His truth into their own worlds.
When we talk to our children throughout the moments of their days and create the vocabulary and train them to learn how to think of themselves as responsible, we are preparing them to live a story of servant leadership. And when they see us taking initiative to help, to reach out to and to teach others, they will develop a self-image of one who is especially called by God to take initiative to bring light to their own dark worlds--all for the love of God's design in their own lives and for their own love of their heavenly Father.
"We take initiative to do all of our own work without being told."
24 Family Way # 13
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8 Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Memory Verse Proverbs 6:6-8