Our youngest son spent his summer interning for our state representative, Scott Turner. Scott’s an awesome man who we’ve had the privilege to know since his candidate days. Our son, a political science major, wanted to experience a little of political life and working for Scott gave him a taste of both the glamour and the mundane involved in the job. I expected it to be a good experience, and it was. What I didn’t expect that is that I would learn something. And that that “something” would be visual examples of what living the Christian life looks like.
How did this happen? Well, each day when our son returned from work we asked about his day. Week after week he recounted his activities. One day it struck me–his relationship with Scott was a picture of our relationship with God!
Let me explain.
In his job as intern, our son had several different types of responsibilities. As I considered each one, I realized they very closely paralleled the types of days we encounter in our Christian life.
Some days–many days, actually–our son sat alone in an office answering the phone, typing and printing letters to send out in Scott’s name, and reading the paper for both issues and community activities that Scott might want to attend or acknowledge. It wasn’t exciting. Or really even fun. No one stood over him to see that he’d done what he was asked to do. Scott, through the office manager, simply gave him instructions and left him to accomplish the tasks. And isn’t that true of our Christian life? Many days we are asked to be faithful in the little things. The mundane. The things that must be done but aren’t applauded and frankly, don’t even feel productive sometimes. And these things are often done in secret. Without witness. Or oversight. These tasks, whether acknowledged or not, are not only necessary, they build trust with the one asking us to accomplish the tasks.
Other days made the solitary office time worthwhile. On those days, our son accompanied Scott to a speech or an event. Our son would humbly serve at Scott’s side, making sure he had what he needed, holding his stuff when he needed his hands free, talking to those waiting to talk with Scott and being able to articulate Scott’s position to those who asked. These were the “fun” days. The days when important things were happening. Important people milled around. Days when it felt really good to be connected to the man in the spotlight even if no one else realized you’d arrived with him and that he was depending on you. Most of us have at least a few of these days during our Christian life, don’t we? Days when God is obviously on display and we follow as His willing helpers, doing the small tasks He asks of us, noticing the people hoping for an introduction and leading them to Him, much as our son did for our state rep.
Then there were those were the times when Scott trusted our son to attend an event alone on Scott’s behalf. Our son became the representation of Scott Turner. Again, he had to be prepared to articulate Scott’s position on things. To give others basic information about Scott. And to conduct himself in a manner worthy of the man he acted in stead of. Hm. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel. That’s what Paul tells us. It’s like Christ being the exact representation of God to us and then asking us to be Christ’s representative to the world. There is a whole lot of responsibility wrapped up in that role. I don’t think I fully appreciated it until, as a mom, I hoped my nineteen-year-old conducted himself well on Scott’s behalf when attending a public function. I ought to have that same sense of nervous anticipation every time I go out into my community, my city, my world. I am God’s representative to the cashier at the store, the clerk at the bank, the other drivers on the road. I need to act the way He would. Otherwise, I not only smear His name and reputation, I show that I don’t have a great deal of respect or love for Him, either!
I don’t know if my son learned all these lessons as he worked or not. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget the summer that my son’s internship taught me about living the Christian life.