The first full day at the beach started with the boys leaving at 4:30am to go fishing and me headed to the shore to watch the sunrise over the waves. While walking, I spent my time chatting with God. About a mile into my conversation, I came across three siblings who were gathering seashells into plastic buckets.
The youngest girl was grabbing any shell in a willy-nilly manner. She had no concern whether the shells were whole or broken and jagged. She simply wanted an abundant collection and it seemed her only discriminatory thought was if they were “pretty.”
The boy was only picking up shells that were deemed “perfect.” He disregarded dozens before he would place one gently into his bucket. Unlike his younger sister, he had very few shells in the bottom of his bucket.
The oldest of this group was only selecting shells that had a small hole near any of the edges. She wanted the shells that had a “pre-drilled” hole from their time with relentless ocean waves. She was planning to string these shells into a necklace but did not want to have to create the hole herself.
I continued walking, but these three shell seekers stayed on my mind. It reminded me that during our Christian walk we fall into one of these three categories when we allow people to speak into our lives: The abundant collector of people, The seeker of perfect people, and The one who searches purpose in people.
If we are the youngest girl, we allow anyone to speak advice into our lives. These people could speak the truth, but there is a risk that they won’t. They may not be saved and therefore will speak from the world rather than from scripture. I’m not saying we can’t have broken-jagged people in our lives, but rather I think we need to be careful about how much influence they have over our lives.
If we are the middle boy, we search only for the seemingly perfect people to allow into our lives. These people are a façade. They frankly don’t exist. Because there has only been one perfect person to walk the earth, we will be disappointed in the lack of people we can associate with.
If we are the older girl, we align with people who serve a purpose in our lives. We know they may not be perfect on the edges, but there is something in them that is useful for enhancing our walk with Christ. Perhaps they speak truth into our situations or they offer new study techniques or they may even encourage us in a manner we weren’t expecting.
This week think about those who you allow to influence your life. Are you the youngest, middle or oldest child?
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” ~Proverbs 13:20 (NIV)