i’ve written over and over on here about how much i like to sit and think about things. i love to get lost in my thoughts. i’ve also mentioned how my future is one of the things that i love to think about. i act out scenarios of future events in my head just to see how they could turn out. it’s really fun.
i sort of have this philosophy of “learn from the past, live for now, look to the future.” it allows me to enjoy what’s going on right now but still be in a good shape down the line. i had a ton of fun with the “super-fan” stuff during undergrad but i also volunteered and got work experience that allowed me to get the job i have now. i enjoyed myself but i put myself in the best possible position for whatever came next.
the only problem with that philosophy is that there are some things you can’t plan for.
i joked on here yesterday about one day having little jonathan’s. i’m in the rare breed of guys that actually thinks about becoming a dad while they’re still 23 and single. i know that i’m nowhere near ready for it, nor do i have all of the required resources available to make it happen, but it’s something i look forward to in the future. there are a few things i could do to “get ready” for when that happens, but the reality is nothing really prepares you for when you have a kid until you’re sitting there holding him.
i’ve also talked about how i feel called to full-time ministry. right now that calling is to student ministry but i have no doubt in my mind that somewhere down the line i will be part of a team that goes out and plants a church somewhere. i can take classes and read books and do all of this “school” stuff to get ready for it, but the reality is nothing really prepares you for ministry until you’re there in the trenches actually doing it.
these two things would normally absolutely freak me out. they’d normally fill me with anxiety when i thought about them.
but they don’t.
they don’t freak me out because i realize that i have an example of each of those things that i can look up to and watch every day. i have an example of each of those that i’ve been able to look up to and watch for my entire life. i know that if i become half of the person those two people are then i will be extremely successful at being a dad and being a church leader.
the first one’s my dad. if you’ve never met my dad, let me just go ahead and tell you that he’s cooler than you are. plus he looks sort of like dr. phil but more awesome. that’s a fact and that’s something that we’re not debating. sure, we’ve had our problems at times. we’ve fought. we’ve yelled at each other. even through all of that, i realize every day the little things that he taught me while i was growing up. whether it’s how to treat people, how to behave in certain situations, or what it means to be a man, he taught me. he never sat me down and told me that if i did this, this, and this i’d suddenly be this great person or anything. instead, he’s lived it in front of me for 23 years.
there’s the cliche’ out there where guys say, “i’m never going to say that like my dad did.” i don’t say that. my dad raised me the right way. he let me dig myself into a hole but never let me get so far in that there wasn’t a way out. he let me mess up and even told me he thought i was making a bad decision but he still let me make the decision on my own. when it blew up in my face he was there to say i told you so but he was also there to lead me in the right way to let me know how i should fix it.
more than anything though, he showed me how to lead a family. he showed me how to be the provider and the head of a household. he showed what it meant to be selfless and do whatever it took so that everything that was needed was provided and some of the stuff that was wanted was able to be had. i know that i’m going to freak out more than a little bit whenever i first find out that my future wife is pregnant. but i also know that i’ll have one of the best examples out there to turn to for help when i need it.
the second person is my grandpa. i’ve written about him on here a few times over the past five months. i’m sitting here trying to figure out what i can say to talk about him and i’ve got so many thoughts of him flowing through my head that i have no clue where to even start.
on my way home from wilmington two weeks ago i talked to my mom on the phone for about an hour. she was telling me how my grandpa was doing and all of the things going on with his church and all of that. throughout this hourlong conversation she told me a story of another patient in the hospital that my grandpa’s in. i don’t remember the exact connection between him and my grandpa except that he was part of the catholic church in our town. when he heard that peepaw was in the same hospital as him, he had to come see him. over the years my grandpa and this man had become friends. they would always talk about their beliefs and would debate why they believed differently. my grandpa would always go see this man when his health was bad and even with their differences, the man knew that my grandpa loved him.
after the man came to see my grandpa he started crying. my mom could tell that peepaw had made a huge impact in this man’s life even though she had never seen him before in her life. before the man left peepaw’s room he turned to mom and told her that he didn’t know what god had planned for my grandpa but he knew that jesus was working through him even while he was laying in that hospital bed.
my grandpa gets it. he’s always gotten it. and he’s always taught me what “it” is.
the way you become an effective church leader is to show jesus in everything you do. you show the love of god to people whether you just met them or you’ve known them for years. you love the crap out of them even if you don’t agree with everything that they do. i could read every book by andy stanley and learn all of these different ministry ideas and plans and all of that but they won’t mean anything unless i become like my grandpa. all the strategies in the world will fail if i don’t love the people i’m around.
i don’t know if you have people in your life like my dad and my grandpa. i hope that you do. i thank god all of the time that he’s put people like that in my life. if you’re blessed enough to have people like that you better turn into a sponge and try to soak up everything about them.
i know that even if just soak up their scraps that i’ll be soaking up a lot.
and that’s more than i could do on my own.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.