This past week we celebrated the life of my 95-year-old grandmother. Her passing provided an opportunity for me to reflect on many memories.

One of my favorites happened at least thirty years ago in Eagle Grove, IA. Mom, Dad, and four kids squeezed into the family car for the four-hour drive. This gave us plenty of time to plan out our grand entrance.

We would sneak in the back door, tiptoe up the stairs and then SURPRISE grandma in the kitchen. When we arrived, the back door was open. Without a peep, we made it into the basement and paused for a moment to relish the completion of stage one.

Our oldest sibling and fearless leader moved ahead with military-like skills peering around the corners and starting up the steps. In the distance, we could hear the sink running and the sound of cupboard doors closing.

Feeling like we were going to burst, we held it in and forged ahead. Upon arrival to the main floor, we flattened ourselves up against the wall and then….at an ideal moment…emerged in the kitchen to see Grandma, facing away from us with a pot in one hand and a towel in the other.


Grandma let out a howl and let go of the pot.

Mission accomplished!

Grandma loved seeing her grandkids. And not just our immediate family who had surprised her, grandma loved each of her grandkids. She was always kind and loving and generous to anyone who crossed her path.

As a result, over the course of her lifetime, she cared for and impacted hundreds of people. I don’t think she ever spoke harshly or attempted to manipulate. However, for the time I knew her, she not only loved people of all ages and backgrounds, she literally influenced them to be better followers of Jesus.

This Sunday, we return to our study of First Peter with a sermon from 1 Peter 5:1-4 on the topic of leadership. As leaders, we are told to guard, guide and provide like a good shepherd…and really, like my grandmother. I look forward to sharing much more on the topic of leadership. I hope to see you at either 9:00 or 10:45 am tomorrow.