When I was much younger, my parents would take my siblings and me on vacations to various destinations. I loved the time we spent going on trips and adding to the list of memories I hold dear today.
One thing that I distinctly remember was the joy I had when we were in a crowd of people and my dad would let me sit atop his shoulders. At the time I didn’t know why I loved that experience, I just knew that I did. Today I realize I loved it because it made me feel big. I could see farther and know more than I could walking among the crowd. I had a confidence that was only possible because I was on the firm foundation that was my father’s shoulders. Up there, I felt like I had achieved what the rest of the crowd could not.
Fast forward to my life now. Grown-up, kids of my own, a job, bills, the whole nine yards. As I progress through life, that experience of my father’s shoulders has come back to me often and taken on a completely different meaning. It has shown me much about life.
As I am blessed with new opportunities, new assignments, greater challenges, and bigger influence, I would be a fool not to realize that nothing I have done, am doing, or will do is of my own actions or abilities. Truly, the only reason I am able to move forward on anything I have done, am doing, or will do is because others have gone before me and paved the way. I am literally standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Those who have paid the price. And those who now are beginning to entrust me with what they have built.
I have the unique opportunity to work in the church where I grew up. I was born into the church where I now spend my life doing ministry. I have seen much change and have had the privilege to drink so much of it in. The list of God moments could fill the pages of a novel. This uniqueness begs me to realize. It calls me to ponder. It demands me to remain and respond. What I do, where I am, or where I will go is, and will be nothing without my ability to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, those who have paid the price, and those who entrust my generation with the task of carrying the torch. My pastor, mentor, and boss, Ronnie Floyd, always reminds his staff to never forget where we came from because it’s the past that reminds us of the future. Another great mentor of mine, Ben Mayes, tells me often that we go forward standing on the shoulders of those before us. If we fail to remember that we stand atop the shoulders of those who have gone before, then we will fail to understand what got us to where we are, and it blurs our understanding of where we are going. We all stand on the shoulders of someone. I stand on the shoulders of my father, and I now raise my children with the lessons he instilled in me. Most of those lessons are great, some need to be adjusted, but the fact remains I can’t forget I stop and listen, realize, and respond.
I am grateful for men like my father, my pastor, and the men who went before them. Men like Gene Layman, Ted Schneider, Charlie Foster, and Joe Dorman. These are men whose shoulders I stand on. On their shoulders I can see farther, I feel confident, and I know I have the stability to move ahead. Take time to recognize and respond to those whose shoulders you stand on. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t be arrogant and blind to think that where you are in life is because of you. Realize what is good and what might not be so good, and make corrections where needed. But never forget, we all stand on the shoulders of someone else. God has allowed those whose shoulders you stand on to have gone before, and we must not miss the lessons from the past as we strive to move ahead.
Director of Communications and Technology, Cross Church