I am blessed with a strong sense of awe and wonder. I am not sure if it is something I choose to engage or if it is simply a part of my DNA, but I often find myself captivated by the majesty and wonder of things.
When I venture into the city I am known to pause and just look straight up to the sky – my eyes following the walls of the tall buildings, as I notice how they reach to the heavens. I marvel at the minds that imagined these structures and then the engineering knowledge that made those dreams into reality. I wonder about the people who breathed life into these buildings that I find myself standing in the shadow of.
Even more amazing to me is when I find myself in the midst of a forest. We grow some amazingly tall and straight trees in Australia. Our native gums may not have the wide girth of other trees but I am always rendered mute (a feat in itself!) when I stand in the shadow of these eucalypt giants and visually follow the trunk as it stretches to the skies. What has this tree witnessed in its lifetime of standing in this spot? How many creatures have sought its protection among the braches or at its base?
This reminds me of those people who have stood tall in my life and cast shadows for me to stand in. There are some who have long since gone but whose shadow seems to remain. These are people who have set such an inspirational example I cannot help but be influenced for the better.
Some have well-known names, some only known by a few but their impact is no less significant. I am certain that as you read this you will be recalling names of those who you have cast a shadow of influence for you. Pause for a moment and give thanks for these people.
For me, my most obvious example to follow is Jesus. Part of a verse in the Bible speaks of Jesus setting an example for us: “He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21NLT) and there is plenty of opportunity to read the stories of his example in the first four books of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is both helpful and challenging to read these regularly and observe the shadow set for us.
My mind then naturally wonders, “What sort of shadow do I cast? Am I of significant positive influence for others?” It is a humbling thought, and an answer may never be accurately found. Still I pray, “May I be like a tall tree for those that follow after me. May my example of a Jesus life encourage others to seek out His example to follow also.”
May your shadow do so too.