Wisdom to Pass on Wisdom
by Emma Miller
There’s something quite indescribable about the family I was born into. I had no control over it, no way to earn it, and never can deserve it. The very start of my family, and a huge reason that I am so grateful to have it, is because of my grandfather, whom I call “Papa.” He is a man unlike any I have ever seen, and I know that I’ve only managed to catch a glimpse of the remarkable man he is. As I get older, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the person and inspiration he is to me, and countless others.
I am the oldest of all of the grandchildren that my grandparents have, and through these past few years, especially after becoming a disciple, I’ve felt extremely grateful for the extra time I have had with them, and that I can be of an age that can see who he is and appreciate the inspiration he gives.
My grandfather blows me away with his faith. The way he handles the health challenges he goes through, the way he teaches people, the way he loves people, and I could go on. I was just on vacation with him and my family, and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him for a while, listening to his story, and hearing pieces of his wisdom. I had prepared a list of questions for him.
He talked to me about the way he stays hopeful, and rooted in Jesus as his foundation–no one else. He keeps his eyes on eternal life, not this earthly life…although he’s had it to the full. He makes his Christianity not just his religion, but his way of life, and trusts that God is preparing a room for him in heaven.
That conversation blew me away, because I got to see how strong he was in the Lord, and I want to imitate that. He fixes his eyes on what is unseen, and that keeps him overflowing with hope and joy amidst health challenges.
I have always thought of my papa as a spiritual, wise man from just watching him, and certainly seeing the way he’s impacted others, like my parents. I got to understand it so much more this past year. I think back to the time when I heard him speak to appoint elders in the Pioneer Valley region earlier in the year, and that day really struck me as I heard of some of the things he’s done. To hear him share his convictions and experiences in being a disciple really hit my heart, and I realized more of what a unique person he is. It made me see the strength and humility he has as I heard him speak, along with the conversation I had with him a few days ago. He is wise as he makes himself low and God highest of high…yet he is a leader,and is bold.
He told me the story of when he was 22 years old, starting off his campus ministry with only 3 disciples. When he was with the church leaders and elders that year, they asked him how many baptisms he thought could happen by faith that year. Everyone thought around 10 people would be exciting, but he said 100. It seemed crazy to them, yet because of God using his faith, that very year sure enough they went from a campus ministry of 3 to that of 100! It was incredible to be able to hear that side of him. He is a leader, and he is a leader when it comes to evangelism. He said to me something like, “I want to be a leader because I want to inspire other people that it can be done.”
His attitude inspires me as I think about going into high school next year, and eventually college. That faith is something I want to imitate. I often pray about the reasons God put me in this family, with the ability to be close to him, and to learn from him. I didn’t have anything to do with it, but I feel grateful for it. I’m so thankful to have this, and to learn “up close and personal” from his faith. I’m inexpressibly grateful to be “Papa’s Punkin” (the nickname he’s called me since I was born), and I want to follow his example.