A guest blog today from Alliance Life magazine, an article by Ron Walborn. Good reading in Alliance Life, free subscription available at https://www.cmalliance.org/updates/.
Years ago when we were living in Northern California, our family drove into the mountains to enjoy the fresh winter snowfall. At a rest stop along the way, I decided to walk into a beautiful snow-covered field to get a better look at the mountains. I assumed the rest of my family was still in the car, and I had no idea anyone was following me. Then I heard the voice of my four-year-old son: “Take smaller steps, Dad. I’m walking where you walk.”
I looked back to see this cute little guy giving it everything he had to get through the deep snow by walking in my footsteps.
In one of those moments with which God loves to surprise us, I heard the voice of the Father build upon my son’s words, saying, “Guard your steps, Son. People are walking where you walk.”
No matter who you are, someone is following you today. Listen closely, and you will hear the voice of him or her saying, “I’m walking where you walk.”
To make sure our lives are worth following, let me suggest two questions to ask ourselves. Please remember we ultimately want people to follow Jesus, but they will start by following us.
- Is my life leading people to an encounter with Jesus?
When you follow someone around for any length of time, you run into his politics, church polity, or theological systems. Now it’s certainly not wrong to have positions or opinions, but if people don’t encounter Jesus through our lives, they will miss the gospel no matter how “pure” our theology.
When he began following Christ, Paul didn’t trade in his Jewish theological system for a Christian theological system. His heart and passion were to “know Christ,” “gain Christ,” and “be found in Christ” (Phil. 3:7–11) so that others would encounter Christ through him.
When I first became the dean at Alliance Theological Seminary, Dr. Paul Siu was our professor of systematic theology. Dr. Siu loved theology and was a passionate instructor. The highlight of his lectures was when he began to speak about Jesus, which he couldn’t do without his eyes welling up with tears of love.
One day, at the height of one of his most impassioned discourses on theology, he interrupted himself and said, “Please know that I will never die for theology. I will only die for Jesus!” When people took theology from Dr. Siu, they always encountered Jesus.
My most significant mentors always led me to Jesus when I followed them. While people may love and follow me at first, I always want them to end up in love with Jesus.
- Is my life making an eternal impact?
This is not a question rooted in breadth of ministry or wide popularity. This is a question about depth and eternal impact in the lives of the people we encounter.
My dad never pastored a church larger than 400 people, but the eternal impact of his life is significant. My dad taught me that making a difference in people’s lives was far more important than the size of one’s paycheck.
On my last trip back home, an older man and his wife came up to me and said, “Dr. Walborn, you don’t know us, but we came to know Jesus through your father’s ministry. Our lives were changed forever because of your dad.”
As a result, I have always looked for mentors who are having the kind of eternal impact I want to have. I unashamedly “attach” myself to them with tenacity and grit. I want to follow them and learn everything I can from them.
I believe in biblical impartation that comes from long-term accountability and connection. In addition to my dad, men like John Wimber and Terry Wardle were my early mentors who helped shape my vision for a life of eternal impact. Life is too short to spend it only paying bills. I want the impact of my life to last long after I’m gone.