I'm typing this post on the back of my Springer Spaniel, Jamaica, so any typos I'm blaming on her (for once, having an excuse). She's in my lap because it's Thursday. You know, the big, bad garbage truck day. The equally scary recycling truck day as well. But she doesn't really need much of an excuse to climb into the lap of one of her people. She's our 48 lb. lap dog.
Yesterday I got a note (online, of course) from the woman who was my Campaigner/Young Life leader in high school. She reminded me--oh so gently, Ouch!--that it was almost 40 years ago that we were sitting in some living room or other talking about the Word of God, how that Word had meaning and application for our young lives. The spring of my freshman year in high school, KB and our other leader, CH (who were each only 20 years old--this was long before driving regulations for such trips), piled seven campaigner girls into my family's Carry-all and drove us up into the mountains for a mini-retreat at a condo at a closed-for-the-summer ski resort. Only about two thirds of the way up that mountain the snow was so deep the road--unplowed--was impassable. We pulled out our sleeping bags, handed them around without paying attention to whose was whose and slept right there in the car. I was lucky enough to be in the far back, behind the seats, on top of bags, which meant that I (and two others beside me) were flat and snug for the night. The other girls, KB and CH, weren't quite as fortunate. Two of them actually had the misfortune of getting the two mummy type hiking bags that weren't filled with down, though they thought they were, and took off all their clothes in order not to be too warm in those bags. Instead, they practically froze overnight (It's just possible--er, likely--that one, or both, of those bags belonged to my family...Sorry!). In the morning, when we saw how deep the snow was, how precariously close to a mountain road's edge we were, we hiked down the mountain for help. Got it, as you can tell.
The most interesting thing about that trip, almost 40 years ago, is that all those women--the two leaders, the six other girls--are still in my life. I wouldn't have guessed it then, but that's how it's turned out. When KB got married, the fall right at the start of my sophomore year in high school, those same seven girls plus a YL leader driver drove across the state to her wedding, the first wedding any of us had attended without our families. We thought we were sooo old. And I sat in living rooms with KB all four years of high school, listened to her explain the mysteries of God's word...and also--more than once--the mysteries of the opposite sex. She discipled me in every possible way, and I soaked it up like the little sponge I was. I listened to her, looked up to her, wanted to be like her when I grew up, both as confident and as clear about God.
And the other night, Beve and I ran into a young woman who was in our youth group about 15+ years ago. This woman, now a wife and mom, sat in rooms with me and we delved into God's Word together. I helped explain the mysteries of the opposite sex to her, discipled her in every way imaginable. Beve and I (and our best friends) took this young woman and dozens of her friends on short term missions, on adventures, on service projects. We shared much together in those years, shared song and food and...life itself, the life that is in His Son. There's a whole generation of men and women from that period in our lives who listened to us, looked up to us, who saw us as wise. This young woman is training her son in the way that he should go...and we have a part of that.
And that, of course, is the way things should be. The young woman I saw in that store has KB to thank for her ongoing life of faith, just as I do. Just as I have the people who discipled KB, and the ones who discipled them. Reproduction is what I'm talking about--how the life KB found in Christ was reproduced in me, then reproduced in those I've discipled along the way. This reproduction is exactly what God intends. It's what Paul speaks of when he tells the Phillipians, "Join in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do." Follow me as I follow Christ. Follow the ones who follow the ones who follow...all the way back to Paul. All the way back to Christ Himself. The Christian life isn't something we invent, it's something reproduced in every new believer, every new generation. The organic goodness of that, the earthy sweetness of it blessed me this morning as I think of those I followed, like KB (thank you!), and those who followed me (A, thank you as well!).
So the questions begging to be asked are: what are you reproducing? And who is following you?