Thursday is for Discipleship
When the hairy-backed motorcyclist pulls up at the same red light, my wife glances and says, “Ohh, I couldn’t have married you if your back was that hairy.” Turning to my 19-year-old daughter in the back seat, I say, “Do you see from how thin a thread your existence is hung?” A raised eyebrow, indicates a new sobriety.
Life hangs on such small threads and yet threads of steel because of the sovereign God’s design.
Fifty seven years ago, a young sailor of 22, walked into a dance and spotted my mother. I asked Mom, what she thought when she first saw the man who became my Dad. “Ohhh, I liked him. He was so handsome. And I was so disappointed when a couple of minutes later he asked my best friend to dance.” What she found out later was that Dad was on a reconnaissance mission. He wanted to ask Mom’s best friend about mom. A year later Dad, 23, married Mom, 18, and they went on to have 7 children, and 50 years of shared love before Dad was called home to Jesus through the doorway of leukemia.
In May of their 50th wedding anniversary year, I had the privilege of doing a brief renewal of vows ceremony with them on the back patio of my extraordinary sister’s home, Mom and Dad surrounded by all seven of their children and most of their grandchildren, paying homage to the two patriarchs who had shaped and nurtured all of our lives. Dad only lasted another 4 months before Mom had to say goodbye till they meet again in the resurrection.
The years since Dad died were not easy for Mom, but they were not without joy. Eight grandchildren have married. More grandchildren and more great grandchildren breath air and have begun the process of extending the extraordinary legacy of my Mom and Dad. My brothers and sisters are men and women the world is fortunate to have. When you meet them and when you leave them you would do well to thank God that such men and women walk the earth. They have married well, that is, they have married men and women of character and love, who understand commitment and who love the Risen Christ.
In the last few weeks of hospice care, as her children gathered around her to tell her of their love and joy in having such an extraordinary woman for a mother, I had opportunity to ask questions and to say things that no doubt, all my brothers and sisters also asked and said. We told her of how thankful we were for her sacrifice and service, for her example and her love, for her wisdom in picking Dad and raising us.
One of the things I told her was that her faithfulness to Dad and his to her, the great ways that they loved each other, was the model that set her children up for success in life. Because of their model, all of her children had married well and had great marriages and that was the foundation for all of her grandchildren to have great marriages. “Mom,” I said, “You changed the world.”
Wracked with pain from an aneurysm the size of a large man’s fist and located just below her heart, she simply said, “You think so. That’s good.” No bravado, no boasting, just, “that’s good.”
Discipleship is only effective when it can reproduce goodness.
Discipleship’s aim, said the apostle Paul, “is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim. 1:5; see also 2 Tim. 2:22, 1 Peter 1:22)
Mom and Dad discipled well. We will miss them but we will see them again because the gospel is true and Jesus rose and ascended into heaven.