In 2012 a group of historians erected a monument to honor Abraham Lincoln for President’s Day. There is nothing unusual about this, because there are all kinds of monuments to Lincoln all over the place. What made this particular structure unusual was the building material used. They built a tower constructed entirely of biographies written about Lincoln. The structure ended up being thirty-four feet tall and composed of almost 7,000 unique books written about the sixteenth president. That number is not even half of the number of books written about the man, and even today new biographies on Lincoln are being released. For instance, this month a book entitled Lincoln’s Mentors will be released. This means there is a lot of information out there about Abraham Lincoln and chances are you know a decent amount of it.
Influential presidents like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, are figures the nearly all Americans have some level of familiarity with. The reason why these figures have been so thoroughly researched and written about is because they are important to our national story. More than that though, the positive qualities and leadership of these men are often lifted up as an embodiment of ideals and virtues that as an American culture we feel are worth emulating.
Unfortunately, not all historical role models get such a strong focus and push into the cultural landscape. In the realm of our faith I think some people that we should emulate that are not easily recalled are Jesus’ first disciples. Sure, Peter and Judas tend to get a lot of recognition, but what about the rest of them? Most American Christians struggle to even name all twelve disciples. Just like Americans look to previous presidents for inspiration, Christians should find inspiration in the disciples. The people who first followed Jesus went on to change the world as they faithfully made disciples and lived out all that Jesus taught them. As followers of Jesus today we can learn a lot from these men and women who served as the trailblazers of our faith.
In addition to hosting President’s Day, Lent also begins in February. Lent is the season before Easter that in the life of the church is supposed to be a time of spiritual preparation and renewed discipleship. This year, we will be focusing on the disciples during Lent. We will focus on deepening our own discipleship through learning from the examples, the mistakes, and the successes of Jesus’ original followers. During Lent, the Sunday messages will focus on stories involving the disciples. In addition, our mid-week bible study will be starting back up with a weekly focus and deep dive on a single disciple each week. By learning from the original disciples, the hope is that our own faith grows so that we can also be disciples who transform the world.