Raising children has given me a number of experiences and observations that serve as good object lessons. Once such observation took place several years ago at a wedding reception. Our son, Daniel was about 11 years old at the time and was almost as tall as his mother, but he was still very much a mama’s boy and when he would get tired he would go over, stand beside his mother and lay his head on her shoulder.
At the reception, there was a woman who was about the same size as my wife and had the same hairstyle and color. When Daniel got tired he walked over to the woman, whom he had never met, stood beside her and…thinking she was his mother, laid his head on her shoulder.
The woman was obviously puzzled by his actions, because she didn’t know him, but she put her arm around him and allowed him to rest his head on her shoulder. The woman had been talking with someone and as she resumed her conversation, Daniel noticed she did not sound like his mother. He raised his head and realized he was leaning on a stranger. He gave a very brief apology and went hurriedly in search of his mother. Obviously, he was thoroughly embarrassed and I was thoroughly amused.
We sing the song, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, and the chorus of the song is ‘Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms, Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, leaning on the everlasting arms.” Truly, it is a comfort leaning on the teachings and promises of Jesus our Lord.
Yet, just as Daniel was comfortable leaning on the shoulder of a stranger, there are so many who think they are leaning on Jesus but are following the teachings and promises made by man.
Jesus warns His listeners in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!” Can’t you just hear the shock in the voice of those to whom Jesus was speaking. Those who thought they were leaning on Jesus but were not doing His will. They were leaning on a stranger.
When Daniel found out he was leaning on a stranger he ran immediately to find his mother. I want to challenge each one of us to look closely at the one on whom we are leaning. Look closely at the teachings and promises that we follow. We may think we are leaning on Jesus but if we are not doing the will of Jesus…if we have not been obedient to His words, we may well be leaning on a stranger.
…And the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers. (John 10:3-5)