Happy #ElevatedFriday! Today we highlight an incredible story of leadership and commitment in action. In Atlantic City, NJ one year ago, a viral video showed two teens, Sheldon Ward and Jamar Mobley, getting into a vicious fistfight in the streets. That fight was courageously broken up by a man named Ibn Ali Miller who just happened to be passing by at that moment. Miller stepped in and separated the two boys and then refused to leave until they shook hands, saying, “You’re almost men, you’re not kids no more. Start acting like it. You’re going to get nowhere like this.” The boys shook hands and stopped fighting. Fast-forward one year since that video’s release, and Sheldon and Jamar are actually best of friends. When asked why they listened to Miller, they both said it was because never had a father to teach them right from wrong. Jamar said, “He said to us what a father should have said to us.” However, the most incredible part of this story is not that Miller did what he did in that moment, it is that one year later, he is still meeting with the two teens once a week to bestow a little fatherly advice and wisdom. Because of this, Miller has become a role model for many other boys in their community. Of the original encounter and subsequent relationship, Miller said, “Once they know that someone’s paying attention, once they know that someone loves them, once they know that people are gonna be there for them and hold them to account, you know, they’ll rise to the occasion.” Rise to the occasion they did thanks to Ibn Ali Miller.
One of the most devastating plagues upon humanity today isn’t an illness or disease, it is the lack of Biblical leadership, especially from men. Children who grow up without fathers in our nation has risen for decades and the results are evident every night in the news. God created the family unit for a reason – it would be the cornerstone from which He would shape the entire world. Without strong families with strong leaders, the next generation will drift off course. The Apostle Paul knew this and devoted the entire second chapter of his letter to Titus to expelling the virtues by which men and women should lead their families. One could summarize his instructions for the Godly leader to be this: The leaders we all want to follow hold themselves and others to account, confront issues soberly, and love with commitment. Today, reflect on how you have been influencing others in your life. Have you been a leader or a drifter?
“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us....For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” – Titus 2:1-8, 11-15 ESV