I was never one for big family get-togethers. Though there were twenty of us cousins, there was none who I was really close to. There were a couple of guys a few years older who didn’t pay me much attention, and then a few years younger who were girls, and well, I wasn’t at the age that I wanted to hang around them. It probably didn’t help that my dad was not close to his family, so we didn’t hang out all that much. So, you can see why these family events weren’t on my top ten list!
There was this one uncle, however, that I kinda liked hanging out with. I’m not sure why he liked to do this, but he would always go for walks and just get away from everything. For a half hour, maybe two hours he would walk around the lake, around the woods, or just down the road, depending on where the family get-together was. He would let any of us kids who wanted to walk, go along with him. One of these get-togethers would take place at either Christmas or Thanksgiving each year, so I made sure I packed my snow boots, gloves and a warm coat. I just knew we would go out for a walk, and we usually did.
It was great hanging out with that uncle. Along with the food, it was the highlight of the family get-together. I don’t really remember him teaching us anything as we would walk along, as kids following the piped piper, but I’m sure he did. But it didn’t matter whether he taught, just talked, or we would just walk, we were away from everyone else. We were out of the house, away from the crowd, and I felt important. Being with him made me feel special and valued, as opposed to just sitting in a corner by myself or trying to fit in with others. He took any of us who were willing to keep up with his brisk pace and we just walked and spent time together. He obviously had an impact on me as fifty years later I still remember very fondly this uncle who I would walk with.
When we walk along side someone, we can’t help but learn from them. It may not be like a classroom or a lecture hall, but just by being with them, we learn. The apostles learned so much from Jesus as He taught them and the crowds, but also as they just walked along with Him. They saw how He interacted with others, they observed how He dealt with tense situations, they learned what was important to Him, and they became intimately acquainted with Him simply by walking alongside Him. It is amazing what can happen, what you can learn, when you take the time to just walk alongside someone.
We don’t have the privilege of walking the surrounding roads with Jesus as the apostles did. We do have the opportunity to walk with Him through their eyes as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write their journeys down for us. Matthew the tax collector writes for us from his Jewish perspective, and how Jesus was a fulfillment of what was written about in what we call the Old Testament. John the fisherman, tells it from a slightly different perspective, with a lot of emphasis on the last week of Jesus’ life. Mark though not an apostle, had the privilege to walk with Jesus at times as a young lad (check out Mark 14:51-52). His gospel is shorter and more succinct. Luke who is also a doctor, did not walk along with Jesus at all, but investigated as he states in Luke 1:3 and writes from a Gentile perspective. So, though we didn’t walk with Jesus, we can feel and understand what it was like for those who did.
Easter is only four weeks away, and I encourage you to take a walk with Jesus. If you don’t already have a reading schedule, I encourage you to choose one of the gospels and read it--or should I say walk along with Jesus through it--over the next few weeks. It will impact you for years to come.
Walking through reading,