“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
What does a well lived life look like?
Is there someone in your life who you have as a role model? Someone who has lived a long life with successes and failures; someone who if you could only emulate 50% of their attitude and behavior, you would consider your life worth living? Someone who could share their wisdom and life experiences to assist you on the road toward your promise land?
I was fortunate to have certain elders take an interest in me while growing up. But they came into my life in stages. In hindsight, God brought people into my world when I needed them most. For my early life wasn’t conducive for any type of success. Both my parents only had 8th grade educations; immigrated into this country after World War 2; didn’t speak the language; and came into this country without family nor friends.
In my rebellious teen years, I was ashamed of my parents because they were “old-fashion” and didn’t agree with the current fads of the day. Yet, today as an adult and parent, I marvel at their accomplishments and also salute them for instilling within their children healthy values, life examples, and acts of sacrifice for others.
When I turned eleven, I wanted to purchase a paper route. Mom objected because she said I was too young. Dad on the other hand blessed the opportunity. When he was eleven, his father died and being the only boy in the family, he took over the town blacksmith shop and farmed the fifty acres of land to support the family. If he wasn’t too young at eleven, neither was his son.
When I turned sixteen, I took a job working late nights at a drive-in theater. Though the people I would associate with weren’t the best role models, I was given responsibilities by the general manager to manage one of the two food concessions. In less than one year, I was managing the entire operation supervising college students. He gave me responsibility and the opportunity to learn and grow – skills that have shaped me for future business leadership roles.
My first accounting job at twenty with a manufacturing firm brought the HR manager into my life. He was in his mid-sixties, and previously an executive VP for the entire holding company. Rather than terminate him, the Company transferred him to this small shop out of respect to finish his career. He took a liking to me and showed me the important social and corporate skills needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.
I could go on and on and speak about the mentors from Church who gave me opportunities in my twenties to grow in public speaking, leading youth groups, organizing national single events, and showing me lives well lived. These were men who had successful work careers yet placed fatherhood as their most important role. Men who were authentic, diligently involved with family affairs, yet led successful businesses. And most importantly, men who acknowledged and praised God in their everyday routine. Whether at work, at home, or in the community, their faith was displayed. They were not perfect, made mistakes, but own them and worked hard to change into the image of Jesus Christ.
All we know about Jesus Christ between the age of 12 till 30 is summarized in the above Scripture. He increased in wisdom, stature, and favor before God and man. We are not told the details. We don’t know what or who came into his life while a teenager and young adult. But we witness the fruit of his investment of time and relationships. His intentional focus on gaining wisdom, being involved in the community, and having a positive influence with his friends and neighbors, all led to the writer summarizing this period of time in Jesus’ life with the words “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
So, if you are in your teens or twenties, and want to know where to start investing your time for a life that is well lived, Jesus is always a good role model to follow.
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