In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul delivers a Tweetable one-liner: “[Y]ou are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” We belong to another. But man, do we ever love autonomy. Freedom-loving Americans cherish hotdogs and fireworks and baseball and not having to do anything we’re told.
The inescapable reality, however, is that we are all delegates. Call it stewardship, or faithfulness, or something else, but no matter what, we are all representatives of someone else in our various charges.
Teachers operate with parentally-delegated authority and responsibility when it comes to their students. They must bear this in mind when making pedagogical, disciplinary, and curricular decisions.
Parents operate with God-delegated authority and responsibility when it comes to their children. We must bear this in mind when we are training our children and pursuing their hearts.
I operate with Board-delegated authority and responsibility when it comes to the support of the teachers. I must bear this in mind when I stand before a parent, a community member, or the teachers.
We all represent someone else when we act…and when we don’t.
This also means that we are not the principal characters when it comes to most of the stories around us. N.D. Wilson has helpfully suggested that parents should purpose to operate as awesome support characters in their kids’ stories. You may be the main character in your own story, but even then you’re not the point; you’re the object lesson for celestial readers.
This may come as a bit of a curious sort of send-off for the school year, but let me ask you a few questions:
- How would your summer look if you planned to be an amazing support character in the story God is writing about your child?
- How would you plan your vacations if you removed your own personal preferences from the equation?
- What would your work, leisure, and sleep schedule look like if you were to present a timecard to the Lord on August 31?
- If you were mindful of your delegation of authority and responsibility to your children, how would you help them structure their days?
- Then, when your kids say how much they hate their new schedule, how would you respond to them as God’s representatives? As support characters in their stories?
I could go on, but my reminder to us all (i.e., to myself first and then to the rest of you) is this: We are not our own. Shepherd your kids, spend your money, steward your bodies, plan your days, love your spouses, consume God’s word, and do your work as good delegates, as though you represent someone else…because you do.
Risus est bellum!