This post is part of a series on thankfulness. The first post explained the series purpose.
When I started this website nearly three years ago, one of my stated purposes was to write an ongoing series expressing gratitude to many of the folks who have impacted my life spiritually in some way. Not in order of importance. Not in order of height or weight. Not even alphabetical. And certainly not exhaustive (which I could never do). After I wrote that introductory post linked above, the first person I wrote about was my Uncle Ron.
Unfortunately after those first couple of posts I let the series drop off. Until now.
If you read that post on Uncle Ron (which I hope you did), you remember the study Bible my parents bought me in March of 2008, and how several personal notes written within have served as a repeated source of encouragement over the years. One of those notes was from my cousin-in-law, Josh Larsen.
What is a cousin-in-law, you ask? It’s someone who marries your cousin, and in this case, cousin Katie. Since Katie was much like a sister to me growing up next door, Josh is kind of like a brother-in-law. An older, cooler, more athletic brother-in-law (thankfully, for a while longer I still have him bested when it comes to smoking brisket).
Now, I didn’t grow up with Josh because he came along once I was already in my later teen years. Even so, I’ve still known him for almost 20 years. And though we haven’t lived near each other for the last 15 years or so, I still occasionally see or hear from him. Which brings me back to the note.
Here’s what Josh had to say:
“‘God . . . in these last days has spoken to us in his Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory, and the exact representation of His nature . . . ‘ Hebrews 1:1-3
Jonathan, I pray you will see the risen Christ as He walks through these pages. I know you already know Him, but continually seeing His beauty and glory is our only hope of walking in the freedom He purchased. So as you read may you be changed (2 Cor. 3:18), and as you are changed may you want Him even more. I join Paul in praying that ‘you may know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19).’ I’m glad to know you and to be a part of your family. Katie and I will continue praying for you and Steph, and we look forward to seeing you sometime in the future. In Christ, Josh”
The thing that has stood out to me as I’ve mulled this note over the years is that it is saturated with Scripture. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it is only the Scripture that can accomplish the things that Josh desired for Christ to accomplish in my life. Banal cliches or shallow aphorisms may have sounded neat, but they simply wouldn’t get the job done. So Josh eschewed them for the meat of the Word. He gave me substance. Which is my second observation: Josh set an example by knowing the Word well enough to be able to offer it to me. If I don’t have hard-earned familiarity with God’s Word, I won’t have treasure to offer to others as Josh was able to do for me.
Each time I read Josh’s words, I am thankful for them. They are a part of a special collection of notes that have been important sources of encouragement for nearly a decade. I pray that I will prove to be such an encouragement to many others over the years of life and ministry that God gives me.