There’s a new movie coming out next week called Reel Steal. From the previews I’ve seen, it looks like it could be an entertaining movie. But there is a specific line in one of the previews that’s been on my mind lately.
“He has a shadow function.”
Of course, I haven’t seen the movie, but what I believe the plot to be is a former boxer finds himself “up against the ropes” of life in a new age of robot boxing. For one reason or another, he’s finding success difficult with this new style and probably becomes desperate enough to really try anything – even a dummy “beat-up” bot that’s used for training the real fighting robots.
What I think will be key in the rise of this movie’s story is the robot’s ability to “shadow” this former boxer. Whatever the robot sees the guy (played by Hugh Jackman) doing, he mimics. Ultimately, this robot will eventually rise to the top of the robot-boxing world because of his ability to copy what he sees his trainer doing.
In many ways, I find a spiritual importance for the ability to copy. No, I don’t mean plagiarism; I mean walking with our Father closely enough that we begin to mimic what He does. In John’s gospel, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise,” (5:19). Jesus had a perfect shadow function.
I talked about this whole God-the-Father business in my last post, but there I focused on what it meant in terms of identity. Here I’m focused on what it means in terms of action and purpose. There is a very prominent theme here in America that if you simply put all your time, money, and energy into one thing, you could make a lot of money and be successful. It’s often called, “The American Dream.”
My problems with this dream are 1. Jesus doesn’t teach this and 2. Our only examples of what this looks like in reality are very rich people who tend to be quite selfish although they occasionally make a few donations just to give themselves a heart-warming image amongst the lay people of America. But Jesus often shows us something much different than glorifying ourselves.
Tomorrow is the Ministry Fair at Calvary Fellowship – a time in the year where we display the various ministries our church has to offer. It’s also my second week with the high school kids and I’m planning on teaching from John 13:1-9, 12-17 – where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. Why? Because in this passage we see a reflection of our Father that we don’t often see in the world: Humility personified.
Washing feet in Jesus’ time was a slave’s job – but oftentimes it was passed off to the servants of the servants (or slaves of the slaves). Safe to say it was not a respectable thing to do for a career. But Jesus rolls up His sleeves, puts a towel around His waist, and dives right into it. Why? Because He was showing us and the world (especially His disciples) that God’s kingdom works differently. You don’t attain honor and glory by having so much money or so many possessions; you honor and glorify God by the character developed in you, which is reflected in the works you do.
So now the only question on my mind these days is: What does my shadow function look like? Am I trying to mimic the society around me or am I trying to mimic God and the examples He gives me? What does your shadow function look like?
The more I think about what God desires from me in comparison to what I’ve been giving, the more I realize it’s time for a reboot. It’s time for more humility, for less expectation of something in return, and for more of a self-sacrificial mentality. Hopefully, right now and especially tomorrow, I’ll begin to make that change.