Dr. Russell Lee

Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. I Cor 6: 13

The other day I saw a little girl at the counter at a local fast food restaurant. Her eyes were just at the level of the counter. She had to rise up on tiptoes to see the clerk. She was almost tall enough but wanted to be just a little taller.

It occurs to me that we always want to be a little taller than we are as we grow up. Taller in stature, taller in faith, taller in how we think and taller in personality.

As we travel, we will always need to stretch, and there is a sense in which we need to do this all the time.

As a person who has been tall in stature for as long as I can remember, I resonate with tall thoughts. Many times, people have asked me to reach things they cannot quite reach. I hit my head on things others would just walk under. So, there is some good and bad in being tall.

I always say, when people opine about being short, that we all are exactly the right height. Our feet all touch the ground.

I don’t know how tall Jesus was when he walked the earth, but He stood taller than everyone else. He stood for something. People noticed him. He had something very important to say, and some priceless things to do, and we remember Him for that.

In fact, we walk with the risen Jesus in today’s world and can stand taller because we talk with Him.

One of the great gifts we can give others is to honor them.

“A great leader,” writes N.R. Murthy, “has the ability to make people an inch taller in his presence.”

Treating them as equals, in fact as more important that we are, is a way of helping others grow. Looking someone in the eyes and valuing what they are saying, rather than looking away or thinking of our reply while they talk, is a good way of standing taller in the interactions of the world.

Children need this encouragement all the time. They are always looking, always asking, and we must lift them up every chance we get.

Praise children when they do good,

And if they should stumble or fall,

Show them how to be humble,

Show them how to stand tall” ~ Charmaine J Forde

One way of standing tall is to stretch ourselves, to seek to do things that test our limits — Orville Wright, Paul the Apostle, Walt Disney kind of stretching.

It is OK to not be in control. It is all right to be in taller situations than we have been before, so that we can grow.

As the poet T.S. Eliot wrote so aptly, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

I love tiny people who think big and have a great sense of humor.

Dolly Parton, the great tiny country singer, says, “I walk tall; I got a tall attitude.”

Or the 5-foot six-inch Peter Falk, the renowned TV actor, best known for his lead role on Columbo, who said, “Usually, I get hired because I’m tall.”

For Christians, standing tall is living the wonderful life that God has called and equipped us to live. Paul the Apostle, described as a tiny man in physical stature, is one of the literary giants of the Bible. His high thoughts and big ways of writing about the gospel have inspired billions.

One of his many encouraging thoughts is below:

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” ~ Ephesians 4:1-2

So seek to live taller each day. Urge people to fly high, to do great things which make the world a better place. Stand tall for the things you believe in, and lift up faith in Christ as the highest way of life anyone could possibly live.

Leave a big footprint for people to follow as you live your life. Follow the ways of Jesus, who shows us how to think and act on the tallest, most important quality — love.

Jesus says, “Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these.”

He reminds us that with a little faith we can move mountains. You have to be pretty tall to move a mountain.