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This post has been bubbling in my head for a while now. As often happens, a book that I have read prompts lots of pondering. In this case, the book is Chip Ingram’s Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common.
In this book, Ingram outlines ten practices that are present in the life of Christians who are really walking out a Jesus-like life. Now, not all 10 are evident in every great Christian, but more often than not, many of them are. Some of these practices include thinking great thoughts, reading great books, praying great prayers, taking great risks, making great sacrifices, and the one that has prompted today’s post is PURSUE GREAT PEOPLE.
In the chapter entitled “Pursue Great People” Ingram shares an exercise that helped him identify those people who have poured into his life and shaped him spiritually over the years. He called that portion of the exercise looking in the rearview mirror of life. Ingram also used a visual to help the reader with this exercise. In South Dakota (USA) there are four faces carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore. Four men are represented who are part of the history of America: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them contributed to the fabric of America in a unique and special way. In this ‘rearview mirror ‘ exercise, Ingram encouraged the reader to develop their own Mount Rushmore by identifying four or five people whose ‘influence has been positive and indelible.’
He also encouraged the reader to look out the windshield of life and identify three other groups of people: a Paul who has been or is a mentor, a Timothy who would benefit from being mentored, and a Barnabas who consistently encourages your faith walk.
I was completely drawn in to the stories Ingram shared about these important people in his life. I was also spurred to begin thinking about my own life and the people who have molded and shaped me, as well as those who I have the opportunity to pour into.
Today I would like to share briefly the people on my Mount Rushmore. To be honest, this was a tough exercise because there are many people who have poured so much into my life over the years, but after much thought I was able to narrow it down to the following (in the order in which they came into my life):
My Daddy was my first hero and the man who taught me about generosity, perseverance and determination. Having lived almost his entire life with the residual effects of polio, he overcame so much to live a full and productive life. He was an astute businessman and a devoted husband and father. He taught me a strong work ethic ~ give a good day of work for a good day of pay AND if there is a job to be done, do it, even if it doesn’t fit your job description. Daddy was incredibly generous and felt that it was important to help others who were in need.
Grandma Eula Colwell
Grandma Eula loved Jesus unlike anyone I had ever met. She talked about Him as if He was right beside her. I didn’t understand that He actually was living in her heart until later in my life. Jesus was very real to her and she walked out a relationship with him that was born of time spent in His Word and prayer. As I child I recall her saying that she was looking forward to going to heaven and seeing Jesus. My twelve-year-old self thought, “Whaaat? That’s crazy to wish for heaven!” Now, my fifty-three-year-old self completely understands her longing for heaven. Grandma Eula had a deep and abiding faith that I wanted for myself.
Uncle Jack Parker
Uncle Jack came into my life when I was in middle school. He and his family had always lived in New Jersey, so I did not know them that well. In the mid-late 1970s they moved back South to my hometown and Uncle Jack began teaching in the middle school. He taught, what was then called, the gifted class. I was not exactly sure what my gift was, but I ended up in his class and I am so much the better for it. He formed a debate team, I signed up for it, and there my love of public speaking was birthed. He also encouraged me to write creatively, and that is where my gift of writing first blossomed. All the students loved him because he was such an encourager, pushing and prompting us to think bigger. Today, Uncle Jack is near 90 and still going strong. I am so grateful to him for cultivating my passions for speaking and writing.
My Husband, Greg Adams
Although I had known Greg since I was about 15 years old (he dated my best friend in high school), I really did not know the kind of man he was until we married. He is a man of deep devotion to those he loves and unswerving character. Over the years of our marriage he has pushed me to examine my character and lifestyle choices and to bring them in line with the standards of Christ. Believe me, I needed that early in our marriage. I had really gone off the rails in my 20s in regard to character choices.
Greg’s dedication to his son is something that is rarely seen in today’s society where everyone is all about themselves. Every other weekend for 16 years Greg drove to Birmingham, AL to see Charlie. Depending on where we lived, that was either a 2 hour drive each way or a 4 hour drive each way. Nothing prevented him from going and investing that time in Charlie’s life. For sixteen solid years….every other weekend. Today, Charlie is 25 years old and he and Greg have a close relationship because Greg made the choice to do the right thing in a tough situation.
Greg has taught me the importance of doing the right thing even when it is not convenient or fun.
I have never met Beth Moore, but she has had a profound and lasting influence on my spiritual life. In 2001 God gave me a hunger for ladies’ Bible study. I had not the first idea how to feed that hunger. Thankfully, my friend, Kennetha, suggested we form a ladies’ Bible study group and use material by Beth Moore. I had no idea who Beth Moore was, but I was soon to find out. We started our group in January 2001 and studied Moore’s Jesus The One and Only in-depth study.
Rarely had I seen someone so in love with Jesus and the Scriptures. Beth Moore was a woman whose heart was, and remains, sold out to Jesus. Her mission is biblical literacy and it was contagious to me. I wanted what she had. I wanted that hunger for the Word, that intimacy with Jesus. Our group went on to use most of Moore’s resources and with each study, my faith and desire for Christ grew.
Although I will likely never meet Mrs. Moore, one day in heaven, with tears in my eyes, I will thank her for her faithfulness to write material for women’s Bible study groups.
There you have it. My Mount Rushmore. Some of the people in my life who have left an indelible influence on my heart and life.
Who is on your Mount Rushmore? I would love for you to share in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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