Are you riding on a coattail?
When I was in the 6th grade, I had to give my first oral presentation. I was extremely nervous about getting in front of my peers, especially since I wasn’t prepared.
We had a choice to do a report on a book or a movie — then tell the class about the highlights. The purpose of the presentation was to make what we read or watched so appealing that most of the audience would want to read or see it. My best friend and I both thought the movie would be more fun, so that’s what we chose to do.
The thing is, I didn’t get to see the movie. I knew I would fail the class if I didn’t do the report and the presentation, so I did the unthinkable and asked my friend if she would give me all the details that she captured. All I had to do was change some of the words so that it wouldn’t be obvious.
I’ll never forget the anxiety I experienced as I waited for my name to be called to come to the front of the class. There’s something awkward about giving a speech about a movie that you’ve never experienced. My description was very straight forward and quite boring.
I remember the silence in the room as I basically repeated what my friend told me. Believe me, I didn’t experience a wonderful feeling of achievement when explaining the plot and the outcome since I didn’t see it firsthand, and I hoped with all my being that no one would ask me any questions — especially the teacher. Like, what would I say?!
All I know is that I could not wait to get back to my seat because I looked forward to having the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders. Sadly, that didn’t happen. I ended up experiencing the complete opposite — more like an overwhelming feeling of complete failure all around.
- I had deceived my teacher.
- I put my friend in a bad position.
- I didn’t do what I was instructed to do.
- I received a grade that I didn’t deserve.
- No one wanted to go see the movie after my speech.
It was then that I realized that it wasn’t a good thing to try to ride on the coattails of someone else in order to be successful.
The same with my faith. I could repeat what others have taught me throughout the years; however, there wouldn’t be any passion behind my words if I haven’t read them and experienced them myself.
How about you? Do you know the way to Heaven, or are you simply hoping to ascend on the coattails of others?
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6