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"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21).
When my mom was twelve years old, her dad died. A few years later, my grandma met a widower, Roy Gates, who consistently witnessed to her and her two children. As a result of his witness, my grandma, mom, and uncle were all saved. Roy married Grandma in a small ceremony when they came down to BJU to drop my mom off for college.
Throughout my childhood, my family made weekly visits to my grandpa and grandma. I remember that each time we left their house we all would hug and say our thank-yous, I-love-yous, and goodbyes. But often, when Mom hugged Grandpa, she would say, "Thank you, Roy," and then she’d whisper something in his ear, to which Grandpa would give her an extra squeeze. I always figured she was just saying to him one of the things she said when she hugged me: "I love you." "I’m proud of you." "You’re special." "Clean your room."
But it wasn’t until my grandpa’s funeral that I figured out what it was that Mom had been saying to Grandpa all those years. After everyone had gone to Grandpa’s casket to say goodbye, Mom finally went up. She looked at him and simply said, as she had so many times before, "Thank you, Roy." Then she paused, rubbed his sleeve, and quietly added, "Thank you for showing me Jesus."
Now, Grandpa wasn’t a pastor, evangelist, or missionary. But his ministry to my family was just as real—even more so—as if he had been. Why? Because he was a faithful example of God’s love. He followed the steps of Christ.
Throughout our lives, our paths go different ways. Some may go the way of the mission field or pastorate. Some may go the way of being a cashier at Wal-Mart, a parent at home, a teacher in a Christian school . . .
Although our paths will be different, the destination should be the same: each path we take in the will of God should lead us—and others—to a closer relationship with Christ. He has left us an example. Follow Him.