In the ending verses of the book of Joshua we are told that Israel followed the Lord not only as long as Joshua was alive but even after his death as long as there were those still living in Israel that remembered Joshua. Now that’s what I call a man of great spiritual influence. It causes me to think of the men whose lives have greatly influenced my walk with the Lord. Some of them are still living and some of them are already with the Lord. Some of them I knew and some of them I never had the privilege of meeting. But in every case I can truly say that I am more like Jesus because of these men in my life:
Rev. Charles Distler: My grandpa who was a pastor for over 40 years and spent the last years of his life as a Superintendent at a Rescue Mission. He taught me to love the Bible.
Charles Distler, Jr.: My dad who as a layman always was and still is involved in every area of the local church he possibly can be. He taught me how to love the local church.
Rick Matthew: A Sunday School teacher of mine when I was in High School. He taught me not only how to share my faith but also that sharing my faith could be fun.
Don Bechtel: A High School Band Teacher of mine at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy when I was in High School. He taught me that just because it was “Christian”, it didn’t have to be second rate, but to strive for excellence in everything I did.
Keith Green: A singer/songwriter of the late 70’s and early 80’s who died in a plane accident while I was still a senior in High School. Though I never met him, his music is largely responsible for keeping me walking with the Lord though my teenager years.
Harry Walls: A college supervisor at Liberty University who taught me how to pray.
Dr. Paul Fink: A college professor at Liberty University whose Inductive Bible Study class greatly impacted my life. He taught me how to study my Bible.
Steve Peters: My mentor who took me under his wing while I was in college and gave me my first job in ministry. He taught me how to be a pastor.
Dr. Jerry Falwell: A noted preacher who I use to get up every Sunday morning early enough to watch on TV and whose college I attended. He taught me to have vision.
Rich Smith: A local church elder in Osceola who I prayed with once a week for 9 years and who I watched endure many trials. He taught me to be faithful through hardships.
Now I have to wonder. Someday down the road when other young men make their lists of the men who have had the most spiritual influence on their lives, I wonder if anyone will write down my name. O God, please make me a man of great spiritual influence!