How I Encountered Christ Through An Alleged Secret Agent
Some people think my dad works for the FBI. He’s like one of those characters you see in the movies who is a goofball until you cross him – then he kicks in to super secret agent mode and saves the world by defeating some conspirator’s evil plan. I don’t really know for sure, but I don’t think that’s actually the case. Let’s not rule it out though.
I can’t put together enough words to describe what a great man my dad is, but I can tell you that he models Christ in a way that every father should learn from – secret agent or not. His story is short and simple but an extremely potent representation of the Gospel. It will teach you to be a better representation of Christ in your own life while exposing you to the intimate love of God.
But first – the story starts with me. Relatively speaking, I’ve had an easy life so far. My parents kept a healthy household and have been happily married for 30 years. They introduced me to Christ at a young age and sacrificed everything so that I could pursue my dreams and make a difference in the world. They proved over and over that the greatest impact you can have in life is to love your kids and encourage them daily. They did it well.
Then the real world hit. As an 18 year old wannabe entrepreneur trying to disrupt healthcare while weighing a college versus ministry decision, things got hard. Bills piled up, friends changed, and the reality of working the rest of my life set in. Nobody cared that I was young anymore. I was an adult with bills to pay and problems to solve just like everyone else.
Entering the workforce was an interesting transition from the simplicity of youth to the complexity of adulthood. However in that transition I discovered Christ in a way that has changed my life forever. You see, my dad’s impact on my life didn’t wear off even when life got hard. I started to notice a trend: everywhere I went, people received me well because they knew my dad. People I didn’t even know were excited to meet me because they knew and adored my dad.
Even in a tough job climate, I proceeded to seize opportunities with little friction. It seemed everywhere I went I had favor because my dad had gone before me and set a good reputation for himself, our family, and ultimately for me. But he wasn’t doing it intentionally – he was just being a good man, loving people, and treating them with respect. I was receiving the fruits of his labor.
One day I walked into a big meeting, nervous about my youth and feeling the pressure of performing. I hadn’t met the party on the other side of the table, so uncertainty surrounded the intimidating situation. But as I arrived, I was greeted with a smile and a warm welcome.
“You’re Mike Eaton Jr? It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you! I know your dad. He’s an incredible man!”
That day it hit me. In the middle of a boardroom, with a complete stranger across the table, I encountered the love of God. I realized that like my dad had gone before me and set a positive reputation, Christ did the same thing. Christ had gone ahead me and set a reputation before God that allows me to experience the favor and love of God even when I have done nothing to deserve it.
Friends, this is the love of God. This is what Christ did for us. He went ahead in sacrifice to establish a positive reputation and a path of favor for his children. Wherever we go we receive blessing and favor because of this sacrifice. I did nothing to deserve the favor I receive because of my dad’s reputation, but that is the definition of grace: a free and unmerited gift. I received it simply because I am his son.
As you work and face many challenges, know that because of His name you are blessed wherever you go. Give thanks that Christ has gone before you and sowed a path of favor. Trust in His name and help strengthen that status with how you live your life.
However, also remember that reputations can be tarnished. My dad built up a very positive reputation for our family that appears to be extending for generations. Yet my actions contribute to that reputation and I need to live a life worthy of the image that precedes me. The same goes with Christ: we are representatives of His name and what a shame it would be to tarnish his reputation because we act selfishly and fail to live up to the standard set before us.
That being said, my dad wants nothing in return for the path he set before me. That is his gift and whether I do well with it or not is for God to judge. But he does take great joy when I succeed and in return make him proud to be my dad. The same is true with Christ: all He wants in return is for us to make him proud (Isaiah 43:7). Isn’t that a sweet deal?
Thank you for going ahead of me and establishing a positive reputation. I recognize that because of your name I receive favor and blessing on heaven and earth. Your name, which precedes me, guarantees my eternity in heaven and purifies me before the throne of God. Please help me to be a good steward of this reputation and let my every thought and action make you proud. You loved me first and I love you back. Amen.