In my mind, I can still smell the mixture of grease and used motor oil that permeated my Dad’s shop. He was a mechanic and he and a bunch of his buddies used to spend most of the winter rebuilding old cars in our backyard garage. It was always sort of a strange and mysterious place to me.
I had no idea what the various tools did and I did not know what all the parts were for, but I wanted to learn. In fact, it never even occurred to me that there were people in the world who wanted nothing to do with repairing old cars. I saw it being done and so I wanted to know how to do it too.
Another place of mystery was my Uncle Grant’s work room. He had a basement room full of electronic stuff including diodes, capacitors and electronic test equipment. I had no idea how to use them and I did not know how electricity worked, but I decided that, someday, I would learn.
Maybe you have been inspired to learn or do something because you saw someone else doing it. Some of you knew that you wanted to be farmers long before you ever learned how to run the combine because you grew up on the farm and love the lifestyle. Others determined to learn to play the piano because they saw their older sister playing one. Having a parent who enjoys reading is one of the biggest factors in whether a child will like reading or not.
Models are important. We gain motivation, interest and desire for new things by seeing others do those things. That is the “Olympic effect” right? Gyms and health clubs always fill up after the Olympics are on TV because people see others running and competing and it inspires them to do the same.
This is no less true spiritually. We need examples. We need those who are being “salt” and “light” in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). When the Christian life being lived, when others can see a real example of real faith being lived in real time in real life, it makes them curious. It causes them to want to know more. It inspires interest.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Faith often begins with an example.
Never underestimate your ability to inspire something good in others.
Your example is more powerful than you know.