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Others have a profound impact on us!

stories-2Others have a profound impact on us, whether for good or bad. The Scriptures remind us of this in a variety of ways. Proverbs 27:17 NLT says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” And the apostle Paul urged us, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV) But we’re also warned, “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

The other day I began thinking back over some of the key people in my life who had a profound impact in modeling Christlikeness for me. My parents played a huge role in demonstrating the lifestyle of a Christ follower for me. They were human, sinners and had weaknesses just like everybody else, but their lives were also on a continual upward trajectory of growth in Christ. Who they were in private at home was who they were in any and all other settings.

We were a family of five kids—I was the oldest—and every evening we ate supper together. My parents weren’t particularly strict. I can’t believe some of things my brothers and I got away with! But they ingrained certain key values in our lives that flow from becoming like Christ. Some of those values include: loving Christ passionately, working hard, always seeking to do my best, loving others, caring for the needs of the less fortunate, generosity, hospitality, and practicing simple common courtesies and being polite.

I can’t recall a time when my parents ever sat us down to teach us those values, but they modeled them before us with their lives on a daily basis. To this day, I’ve never known anyone as selfless and generous as my parents.

When I was in elementary school there were several men who also greatly impacted my life for good. Mr. Alman was the only male teacher at my school. He was stern and strict when he needed to be and the other teachers looked to him to bring order in tough disciplinary situations. But the thing I remember most about Mr. Alman was that he deeply cared for us kids. Even back then I recognized that he approached teaching as a calling rather than a job. He also loved Jesus Christ, which exhibited itself strongly in his good character and integrity. He was the kind of man I wanted to grow up to be like.

In sixth grade I had a Sunday school teacher whose name was Buzz Sawyer (really). I don’t remember what he did for a living except that he worked a craft of some kind and always had dirty fingernails. (It’s funny what kids remember.) Mr. Sawyer volunteered his time to lead this band of rowdy sixth-grade boys every Sunday. But his care for us didn’t end there. Often on summer weekends he would take us boating or swimming and sledding in the winter.

What I remember about Mr. Sawyer was the simplicity of his devotion to Christ and how he integrated his love for Christ into everything he did. Whether at work or play, with his wife and family or with us boys he was the real thing. Again, he modeled for us what a true Christ-follower looks like.

©2009 Rob Fischer

2 comments

1 Cynthia { 09.07.09 at 8:11 pm }

Thank you for taking the time to devote to this ministry of encouragement. These memories of yours are stirring up nostalgia and gratitude in me as well for both of our legacies.

2 Rob { 09.09.09 at 3:05 am }

Cynthia,
Thank you for your kind words! God is good!
Rob