It may be rainin’,
but there’s a rainbow above you.
You better let somebody love you. ~~The Eagles
Who has built into your life? For many of us, it begins with our parents. Parents are supposed to be the ideal and most significant builders of our lives. Some are better than others. By God’s grace mine were good ones. The older I get the more thankful I become for Christian parents who made heavy investments into my life. They didn’t have to.
My Dad was a full-time student and pastor when I was a young boy. He was very busy. My Mother had three children by the time she was 21 and one more when she was 26. She deserves a medal!
In spite of that kind of lifestyle, I remember them both carving out large segments of time to invest in our lives. I remember hours of hunting and fishing and working with my Dad. I remember deep conversations about God and His dealings with mankind.
When I was a boy the safe place of emotional and spiritual warmth came from the heart of my mother. I realize now that I am liberated in many ways to have a love affair with the Heavenly Father because I was spared much (not all) of the baggage that comes from an unhealthy family life. I am grateful. They were great life-builders.
Then there was Fran Wahl who taught us the Old Testament on flannel graphs one summer at the little mountain church in Westcliffe, Colorado. She diligently taught those stories. She made them come alive. Showing me the power of descriptive language. Teaching me to value the Word of God as story.
Then there was Steve Hoekstra who invested his life in a gangly teenager who was succeeding in rebelling from his folks. Steve spent hours with me skiing and backpacking. Showing me the futility of becoming a prodigal. I’ll never forget his investment.
Then there was a youth leader named Ray Vorhees and a deacon named Clint Spearman. Men you will never meet except in heaven; but who made a deep contribution in my life. At the time of their investments I know they didn’t think they were making any difference. But as I look back, I can say that they were a link in the golden chain that God is using to draw me to Himself. These were very busy people. Why did they do it? Because they carried around convictions about the importance of building into people.
Then there are men named Mike Story, Alan Fortenberry, Chris Rodes, Rick Shaffer, and Dave Cupps who have encouraged me and challenged me to be the man I could be; not the man I had become. I have two friends who are young enough to be my sons, that inspire me to climb mountains, read books, think deeply, and do deep character surgery.
As I look back on my life I wonder where would I be now. . .what eternity would I be headed for if it weren’t for the costly investment that many people-builders made into my life. That thought brings tears to my eyes. I’ve had a lifetime of people-builders look past the gook and grime of my sin and realize that Joe Chambers matters to God…and if Joe Chambers matters to God, then he matters to them.
Friends, this is how the Kingdom of God expands. This is how it advances; from life to life and generation to generation. The Kingdom advances when one member of the Kingdom decides that it is important to build into the life of a another member. He or she makes those costly, hourly investments week in and week out. They build and build and build.
I would venture to say that virtually all of you could say that someone somewhere built into your life the values of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t it make you want to encourage those who have recognized the value of life-building?
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10