Jake Short on Faith, Family and Fame
Many kids grow up dreaming of being on a TV show or in a movie, but for Jake Short it became a reality at nine years old. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and later ended up starring in a hit Disney Channel show, A.N.T Farm, as Fletcher Quimby. Short is the winner of a Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite TV Actor and a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Young Ensemble Cast. Risen interviewed Short in 2012 and talked about how his family and faith helped steer him in the right direction as well as how he wants to use his acting talents for God.
Short opened up on what he is doing to not fall into the same trap some of the other Disney family alums have on as they became more famous.
“My family and God and my friends. And honestly, if I hang around the right people I don’t think I’m going to go anywhere. It’s all about who you hang out with, and who is surrounding you. If they are pushing you to do this [acting]—which my family is totally not—they are saying if you don’t want to be in this, it’s totally up to you. And my friends are super supportive. We just hang out, we don’t even have to talk about it, because they know, and I know, it’s just a regular part of life. I think that’s a mistake that a lot of people make—you hang around the wrong people, you make the wrong decisions.”
“Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:11-13
Short shares how on the show A.N.T. Farm each student has a special gift and how he uses his acting talents for God and what the feedback has been like from being open about his faith.
“I wouldn’t consider myself famous. I haven’t gotten used to people recognizing me and being on TV and I don’t think I ever will. That’s what keeps me here. The publicity that I get really helps me have an influence on teens and children and some adults. If they can just see through my eyes and get to know God, I think it’s important for people to know what they are missing out on. Acting is really presenting me with an opportunity to profess my faith and let people know that God is great…I’ve never tried to impress a lot of people. I’m a big fan of just sitting back and relaxing and being yourself. I want everyone to know that I’m a big Christian and that it’s God first before everything else…A lot of people on Twitter are really supportive and agree with me [when tweeting about faith or Bible verses]. Some are like, ‘Why do you tweet this every night? Why do you do this? Why do you do that?’ Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the chance to tweet a lot lately, I’ve been super tired. I do read my Bible, but it’s hard to think about tweeting it every night, but I try to. And some people are like, ‘Yeah, that’s awesome.’ And others are like, ‘Could you please stop?’ I’m going to do what is right.”
Stay grounded. Life will present you with many opportunities. It could be being part of a sports team, getting the lead in a play, or even a job promotion. It is important to not let the great opportunities to cause us to become prideful or arrogant. Ask a close friend, parent or pastor to encourage you to stay true to yourself, your upbringing and your faith. Allow them the freedom to ask you the hard questions and hold you accountable if you are straying. It is also important to remember that even when your friends or school changes, to still take time to enjoy the things that you enjoy and make you unique.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. It is hard to make the right choices if your friends or those around you are making choices contradictory to what you believe. Even if you don’t participate in what they are doing, chances are you will become associated with their reputation and bad behavior. Sometimes it is better for us to distance ourselves than be pressured into making a negative decision. Take time this week to read about the friendship of David and Jonathan (1 Samuel). Reflect on how they encouraged one another in their relationship with God and were loyal even when Jonathan’s father wanted to kill David.
Stand up. We each have a platform to share our faith with those around us. We don’t have to be famous to use our lives to share about Christ. Take time this week to share your faith. It can be through social media, having a conversation with a friend or family member or even inviting someone to an event at church. From posting a verse to an inspiring video, there are lots of resources that you can share through social media that will get others thinking about their faith. You can even add what the video or verse means to your life. Pray for your friends that you want to see come to Christ.
To read our entire interview with Jake Short, click here
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