“BE PREPARED” – Scout’s Motto
When looking at my upbringing I’m always grateful for the fact that I can say there have been those who took the time to invest in my life. Family members, Ministers, teachers all played a role in my upbringing at one time or another. But what I find myself thinking about at the moment is my time as a Boy Scout. I have many great memories of my time in the Scouts program and attribute much of my knowing that I could turn back to God from what I learned and seen of him there.
My introduction to Scouts was via a friend and I remember my first night light it was yesterday. I met those involved, learned the purpose and goals and discovered that my most consistent bully was a high ranking member of the troop; a reality I quickly grew to love. I found out immediately that he was serious about Scouts; a fact that surprised me as I didn’t think he took anything serious other than beating me up whenever possible. I took every chance afforded to test his loyalty and paid for it outside on more than a few occasions. Making him look bad, along with the fact it made my dad (Dad who raised me) so happy, fueled my early attendance and after a while, I grew to love it myself.
Scout’s was a safe place for me growing up. I was doing something my brother wasn’t and it created a connection for my Dad and me. He loved everything about Scouting and even got involved himself from time to time. Not being a great communicator, looking back, I think it was an avenue for him to teach me all the things he wanted me to know but couldn’t say. Communication wasn’t easy in the home but with Scouting we found ourselves doing a lot more together without the need to actually say anything. I credit much of this time together to the most Godly man I knew at the time, my Scout leader Bill Wright.
A man known to only have about 25% of heart functioning correctly, Bill certainly didn’t live a life that reflected it. Our troop was a hodge-podge dysfunction. We had more than our share of group and broken home kids. Based on the characters in our troop I know it was intentional on Bill’s part to seek out those deemed a lost cause or a project and welcome them to the troop. We were treated as God’s creation and the expectation of us was to do the same. As an example, when my parents separated and it was hard to see my dad, Bill encouraged the invite for him to join us. Then there was the weekend retreat with the Middle East refugee. To say we were all nervous is an understatement but Bill wasn’t. It was like he could sense opportunities to live out his faith and be an example for us and it is now, as I write this out that the weight of what he was doing hits me. It was as much about the spiritual wilderness as it was the physical; he was discipling us.
As a Scout Master, Bill was answering the call that we all as Christians have; the commission call of Matthew 28 to go and make disciples. He was preparing us with the expectation that we would then go and prepare others. Discipleship is all about preparation and one of the best examples of its depth and purpose was on display in Jesus’s washing of the disciple’s feet.
Scripture tells of Jesus and his disciple’s coming together to celebrate Passover; a time for the Jewish community to remember God’s grace in delivering them from the hands of the Egyptians. (Reference Exodus for details) Jesus knew his time was drawing near and that he would soon be betrayed so he was making the most of it. As they gathered round, Jesus proceeded to wash each of his disciple’s feet. A most humble act I can assure you.
With Nike’s non-existent, the first thing one would want to do when entering a home to eat would be to wash their feet. Those of that time ate around tables that would have been low to the ground, if they were not eating off the ground itself. To not wash ones feet would be equivalent to leaving the washroom and without washing your hands. With all that the feet of those days could accrue, Jesus’s desire to wash them was a demonstration of absolute humility.
Peter’s response exemplifies the shock the disciples must have felt. Knowing this, when finished Jesus explains his actions as seen in John 13 v 15 – 17:
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
In this we realize the purpose of discipleship and the role it plays in the life of a believer as well as the church. To be an example of a better way and to then, by the grace of God, lead the lost into it.
If the church is be effective in a world desperately in need of Jesus; for those saved by his grace and striving to walk the Christian walk; our example has to be more than just words, it has to be matched by what we do. 1 Peter 3 v 15 states:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
This command tells me 2 things. The first being that the way we live our lives and whom we are living them for is going to be vastly different than those who live apart from Christ. The second is that there will be those who want, if not demand, a reason for it.
Coming to grips with discipleship is key if we are to be prepared and if we are to assist in the preparations of others. I have to ask, are you prepared? What is the quality of your pray life? Are you spending enough time in God’s word? Maybe your preparation starts in turning back to Jesus again or maybe turning to him for the first time. Do you view your current situation as a discipleship opportunity for yourself or for someone else? God does. And I know that he would not want you to waste this opportunity to learn or lead.
In closing, I’m reminded Bill’s passing. Not for the fact that it happened but from whom the news came. It was in receiving a call from my dad that I heard of Bill’s passing. He asked if I was going or wanted to go to the funeral home as there was still time to make it. As I was thinking about it, my dad suggested I should go and even though I knew he was right, I believe it was because he wanted to be there too. Looking back I believe he realized, as I do now, the importance of what Bill was doing in our lives. That it helped frame the man of God I was at that time. I have to ask, has discipleship framed your life? Is it framing the lives of those around you? I pray that it is and that your prepared.
God Bless – Sean Bosse