Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Daniel: My prayer for you on your 10th birthday


Dear Daniel,

The very nature of your position as the oldest brother gives you a certain degree of power in our home. Your brother and sister look to you for guidance and leadership. They see how you behave and how you deal with situations. Your actions, words and attitudes have an impact on them.

Throughout your life, you’ll undoubtedly be in positions of power over other people as well. That power may come from a physical standpoint. It may come from a position you hold. Regardless, the way you choose to use the power you have says much about your character and the kind of person you are.

Take George Washington, for example. You’ve studied him in school, so you know him as the leader of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and as the first president of the United States. Washington was a fascinating man. As a youth, he worked hard to improve himself and to better his status in society. As a soldier, he was courageous under fire, regularly performing his duties even when his life was in danger. As a general, he was calm and level-headed, with a concern and devotion to the men under his command.

Washington wasn’t as smart as many of the other founding fathers, but he was incredible leader. He was confident and humble enough to surround himself with men who were better than him in many respects. His willingness to do that served him well.

But another trait of Washington’s truly established him as one of history’s greatest men. At the height of his power, first as commander of the American army and then again as president, Washington could have made himself a king of this new country. He was so popular among his men and among the citizens of the United States that few would have opposed him. He could have exalted himself among men and enjoyed all the benefits and privileges that come with supreme power.

That’s not what Washington did, however. When his work as general was finished, he willingly laid aside his enormous power and returned home to a quiet life. Years later, when his country needed him again and he became the first U.S. president, Washington could have done the same thing. As his second term of office came to an end, he could have remained as president if he so desired. But again, Washington chose to quietly slip off the scene and let others ascend to the position of leadership.

In his book, “7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness,” Eric Metaxas wrote this about Washington:

“It’s a pity that most schoolchildren today think of Washington the way he’s pictured on the dollar bill: as that slightly grumpy-looking old man. If I had my way, we’d replace those false images with portraits of the young, vibrant Washington, who can more easily be imagined dreaming big dreams, fighting significant battles, designing America’s future – and then riding home to Mount Vernon, happy to have won his battles against power itself – the great temptation that can tempt mortal man. How grateful and how mightily blessed we are that he did.”

Power can be an intoxicating thing, my son. As sinful people, we’re often tempted to exalt ourselves at the expense of others. We want to use our power for selfish purposes, to make us look good, to gain the glory and praise from our fellow men.

So my prayer for you, as you celebrate your 10th birthday, is that you would follow the example of George Washington – that you would use the power you have, both now and in the future, not for your own desires, but for the welfare and benefit of others. I pray that you would have a servant’s heart that would manifest itself even now in how you treat your siblings, your friends and your parents, and that it would continue to grow as you move toward manhood.

I pray that you would trust in Christ for your salvation, and that God would use you to be a blessing to others — so that ultimately the Lord Jesus would get the honor and the praise from the way you live.

Happy birthday, buddy. I’m glad you’re my son. I’m proud of you, and I love you deeply.



Categories : Family

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