A friend will be a friend in times of all kinds… Proverbs 17:17
The older I get, the more my brain resembles Swiss Cheese. I often find that important stuff just falls through the holes! I’m sure I could do some research and figure out how to improve my memory. Maybe I need more blueberries or I could pay hundreds of dollars for memory enhancement sessions or, I can just write lots of notes and trust God to help me remember the really important stuff. Last summer it was my pleasure to chaperone a group of 100 high school students to a Steubenville Youth Conference. As a huge bonus to the trip, Fr. Mike Schmitz was the priest for the conference and he is one dynamic, inspiring, on-fire Catholic Priest. Just listening to him alone made the 12 hour bus ride worth every minute.
That trip was back in July and surprisingly, even with my Swiss Cheese brain, I remember so many of the things he said. One of the things that really sticks with me is this line from his Sunday homily; “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” At first I remember thinking, hmm, thats interesting, but then I really let it sink in and realized how powerful that thought really was. Living as a disciple of Jesus is not for sissies…getting to heaven is serious business and it can’t wait until we think we’re entering the final phases of life. It’s a here and now and everyday thing. Most of us spend a lot of time reading, praying, reading blogs, listening to podcast and videos trying to learn to live like we love him. That’s all excellent but what about those we surround ourselves with? Are they on the same track we are? Are they helping us in our quest for heaven or are they pulling us back by the shirt tail?
Fr. Mike used a story abut his family to make the statement come to life. He said that everyone in his family, including the in-laws have completed at least one IronMan competition. It was like a ripple effect that defined something very important about his family. They were conscious about health, fitness and when that was woven with a strong sense of competition the average of the five people he spends the most time with inspire each other to some pretty intense fitness goals. We are greatly influenced by the people we are around plus, we have the ability to greatly inspire others, perhaps without even knowing it.
What would we be like if we were the average of five people who were merciful, compassionate and joyful? What if we were the average of people who were generous, prayerful and positive? What if we are the average of five people who are crabby, gossipy and negative? I suppose the real hope in this verse is we don’t have to do it all ourselves. Discipleship can be easier or harder depending on those we surround ourself with. I figured since I managed to remember this for a couple of months it must be something I was supposed to share…hope it brings some new perspective and food for prayerful thought.
A Seed To Plant: Take a prayerful look at your relationships; what are you the average of?
Blessings on your day!
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