One of My Heroes...

…is my big brother, Jim. He has been since I was young. Being five years older than me, he was always the epitome of what it meant to be big.

But when he was in college (and I in Jr. High) he was dramatically converted. And he became the most significant model for me in my teens and 20’s of what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. He really lived what he believed.

He still does. He and his amazing wife, Raquel, have been church planters among the urban poor of Minneapolis for the past 15 years. I know the work they do. It is hard. It doesn’t garner much attention.

A call to preach to and live out the gospel with those struggling with generational poverty, life-controlling addictions, and deeply ingrained destructive habits does not generally produce impressive statistics. It is the hard work of planting and cultivating. It may be that much of the harvest will be reaped by others.

But such faithfulness is not lost on Jesus. He knows. And he will reward.

All this poured out of my heart last week when I read Jim’s 2-page December ministry letter. It’s a beautiful Christmas reflection on what Jesus meant by “blessed are the poor.” I’m going to read it to my kids.

Who deserves such a brother? I doubt he realizes how much he has shaped me. He remains one of my heroes.