Godly Person(s) That Influenced You

(Randy) #1

What godly person influenced you greatly in your life? Why?

My parents remind me of the humility of Micah 6:8 (He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.). For example, they listened and prayed for us all the time. They modeled what a good view of God should be for us 4 children.

(Christy Hemphill) #2

I would also say the biggest Christian influence on my life was my parents. They consistently modeled hospitality, generosity, and service. Through their hospitality we were introduced to cultures from all over the world. We had Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees live with us when I was very young, and our holidays were always accompanied by international students from local universities that were our “friendship partners”, including several that lived with us for a couple years. At one point in time we had five Buddhist nuns from Thailand sleeping on our floor for a month. I learned from a young age that people see things in very different ways and have different values and that doesn’t have to be threatening. I admire how my parents still head off and do adventurous things like serve on a Mercy Ship in Africa or teach English for a summer in rural Mongolia. They even came to visit our rural Mexican village and stayed with us in the two-room mud house with no running water that we used to stay in out there before we built the one we have now. They taught me that the most important thing is loving God and your neighbor, not having all the right answers.

(Laura) #3

My parents here too. They took the Bible seriously and made sure I learned about it from a young age, and just took my education seriously in general.

I’d have to say my husband too. He’s really helped me to focus on Jesus the person, rather than Jesus-as-a-means-to-some-theological-opinion, or Jesus as the main participant of any particular event (as important as those events are).

(Jennifer Thomas) #4

My two sons, when they were very young, and my younger son was dying of leukemia and my older son donated his bone marrow for a (failed) transplant. They knew things I didn’t know about what courage, trust, and love really mean. It was their emotional courage in the face of intense suffering that led me back to God some years later. Whenever my spiritual journey threatened to overwhelm me, I would think of the freely given love my sons had given to each other and to those who had helped our family during our crisis, and I would think of my son watching over us from Heaven. I didn’t want to let my sons down – I didn’t want to waste the incredible lessons they’d taught me – so I kept going even when the journey seemed more than I could bear. My sons were – are – my mentors, and I try to live my life from the heart as they’ve taught me.

(Jay Johnson) #5

Thank you for a moving tribute to your boys.

(Randy) #6

Thank you for that description. It must have been a reflection of their own family’s fortitude and faith.

(Jennifer Thomas) #7

It’s kind of you to suggest that, @Randy, but I’m being very honest when I say it was the two young hearts who were guiding the rest of us.

All the knowledge and education in the world can’t help you when your desperately ill two and a half year old child is staring you in the eye with pure trust and you have to decide how you’re going to meet that trust.

It’s an enormous responsibility. And it’s a life changing moment for both you and your child. Suddenly you’re called to look at the mirror of your own heart and soul (a mirror you didn’t know you had till that moment). And you have to decide whether you want to be a person who’s worthy of that kind of trust.

Christianity often teaches us that this is moment when you’re helpless and unworthy; you can do nothing except hope and pray for God to give you everything you lack. But, after many years of reflection and contemplation and conversation with God, I no longer accept this traditional Christian interpretation.

I think Jesus’ teachings about little children and the Kingdom are telling us to look at the emotional courage of young children, a courage children are born with, a courage we somehow lose by the time we grow up.

It’s the courage to trust God that opens wide the doors to relationship with God, but the courage has to be your own, not God’s. What, after all, would be the point of God giving you some of God’s own courage so you can reflect it back at God? Wouldn’t that be a bit, well, grandiose? God is many things – brilliant, kind, patient, forgiving, generous – but one thing God is not is grandiose.

As I’ve come to understand it, the courage has to be our own. God expects us to find it and reclaim it, then use it to keep our hearts open so we can hear God’s ongoing guidance.

How do you reclaim that inner courage? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this question. But I’m pretty darned sure it’s the question Jesus wants us to ask.

God bless.

(system) #8

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