It is amazing how powerful one person’s life can be. We’ve all been marked deeply, positively or negatively, by people in our lives. Our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, teachers, coaches, pastors and on and on we could go. I’m grateful to have had a handful of mentors in my life who loved me enough to take me under their wing, shepherd and disciple me and pour into my life. We all need people like that. It’s a huge part of discipleship. Jesus modeled it.
I experienced it in college as a freshman when one day I came back to my room and a little card was tucked in the door. Jim Smith, the college pastor at our church wanted to get with me and take me to lunch! Wow. Big deal for a broke freshman!! That started a relationship that yields results in my life to this day. We met weekly for three years for prayer, bible study and mentoring. We grew as friends and were involved in college ministry all through my time at LSU. He eventually married Cindy and me and to this day remains a loyal and dear friend. He’s a big part of the reason we are here at CBC. His impact in my life has been deep.
Another man that has tremendous impact and influence in my life is Rob Black. Rob went home to be with the Lord a year ago this past Thursday, July 9, but his impact and influence in my life is still powerful. He led by example as much as by what he taught and spoke about. He was the kind of guy you just wanted to be around and spend time with as many of you know. He had a great sense of humor. And so, in that Rob kind of way, with a twinkle in his eye, one day he asked me if I’d like to spend some time weekly talking about the Scriptures and the Spiritual life. Many of you are probably chuckling a little right now because you’ve experienced it yourself. I jumped on that like white on rice. Rob discipled me and poured his life into me in the six months or so before he went home. But his influence started way before that, eleven and a half years before when we first came to CBC. He modeled humility. He also knew how to say he was sorry when he had offended. He loved God’s Word deeply. Because of that he spent enormous amounts of time reading, studying, proclaiming and spreading the Word. That marked me deeply. In fact, I keep his bible on top of my desk as a constant reminder to love, revere, read, study and proclaim the Scriptures. Rob loved to minister to and help people. He was constantly meeting with individuals, helping, praying and discipling. Always pouring his life into others;
I’m grateful for the men, and there are others, who have taken the time to pour themselves into me. I’m thankful for the patience they’ve exhibited and for helping me to understand and hopefully to live out the Scriptures. They’ve had deep influence that still impacts my life today. This is what Jesus did with the twelve and what he calls us to do with others as well. May we be about that task today.