At sixteen I went with a group of teenagers from Dallas to Estes Park, Colorado for a World Youth Conference. In our church district many kids wanted to go, but only twenty openings were available, so we had to be interviewed before a panel of church leaders. We were to memorize 2 Timothy 2:1-15 and be ready for questions. I was very nervous but did the best I could. Most all of my responses started with “My mother says…” or “My grandpa teaches…”
After learning I was one of the twenty kids chosen, one of the adults from the panel came forward to tell me she would love to hear her children speak so fondly of her, or to have that kind of an impact upon her grandchidren. Now, as a mother, I know what she meant.
One of the questions they asked, “What is a disciple?” At first I wasn’t sure how to answer. I thought about the disciples and Jesus’ words to them, so I plunged right in and said I thought it had something to do with sitting under a teacher and following in his footsteps. Then they wanted to know who had taught me the most about Jesus. That’s where the bits about Mom and Grandpa came in — no question in my mind who were the most outspoken people in my life! You couldn’t get through a conversation with either one of them without Jesus being brought into the picture. The next question, “Who is your hero on earth today?” Hands down…Mom and Grandpa…no question…and not one without the other. What Mom knew she had learned sitting under her dad.
Grandpa was the best Grandpa anyone could ever wish for. He was big and jolly, always laughing and playful, and best of all, he could whistle like a songbird. He wanted to show us the world of wonders, taking us to the zoo, driving through the safari, going to Sea World and riding the roller coasters at 6 Flags. We went fishing several times and played checkers every visit, rarely did he let us win. One of my favorite memories — after a family fish fry, having my oldest son playing checkers with Grandpa, my younger son watching closely, while my baby girl sat in Grandpa’s lap.
He was an amazingly wonderful man of God. He became a Christian at 21 and shortly after, his bride followed. He felt called to the ministry and became a pastor, raising four beautiful daughters with his “girlfriend,” he called her that ’til the day he died. He was a model of a man, not perfect, but very good. Living on the other side of Dallas, we were able to visit often and frequently went to hear him preach, but even if we hadn’t gone to a service, we still got to hear him preach. Everytime we got together we heard him preach, around the dinner table, over coffee and dessert, visiting in the living room, walking through the garden, Grandpa preached. He was remarkable and I wanted to walk in his footsteps, I wanted to take the same path he and my mother took.
In our faith we follow in someone’s steps. A parent, a teacher, a hero — none of us are the first to walk the trail. All of us have someone we follow. In our faith we leave footprints to guide others. A child, a friend, a recent convert. None should be left to walk the trail alone. It’s the principle of discipleship. ~Max Lucado
He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.” Matthew 4:19
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23
“All the people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” John 13:35
Who discipled you in the things of God? Who is your hero? Who do you follow?