I am reading a book entitled, Vintage Saints and Sinners.
It recounts the stories of some 25 Christians throughout history. I enjoy reading biographies. There are all kinds of lessons we can learn from those who have lived before us.
Who are your heroes? If you are like I am, most of your heroes are not folks about whom books have been written. In human terms, my dad would be my first hero. Dad worked hard to provide for our family. He still found time to serve as a deacon and Sunday school teacher, as well as a coach of teams on which my sister and I played.
Dad taught me to throw a ball, tie on a hook, and drive a car. But more importantly than that, he taught me to love the Lord, to love the church, and how to love my wife and children.
One story stands out in my mind. For his 80th birthday last year we all got together.
Children, grandchildren, and our spouses.
There were also three great-grandchildren present. Our gifts to Dad were restaurant gift cards, and more importantly, letters to “Paw Paw.”
We asked Dad to read those letters out loud, but midway through the second sentence of the first letter he stopped. He was too emotional to continue. So later he read those letters in private. He allowed any of us who wanted to do so to read them, but a public reading was not possible.
Later that day, when I was preparing to go home, I asked how he enjoyed the day. What he said to me astounded me. “Before I read those letters, I really didn’t realize I had ever accomplished anything of note.”
Did I forget to tell you he taught me the meaning of humility?
I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. Only Jesus is the true hero for God’s children. He lived a sinless life. He is our ultimate example. To follow anyone else would be a mistake.
And yet two lessons stand out to me.
First, we all have someone who pointed us toward Jesus, and we should give thanks for that person all the time. Second, there are those who are looking at you. What kind of example are you giving? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
I pray that I will be able to tell others the same thing.