Where Ya Going?

Joshua Chapter 3

Contemplating an application to my reading in Joshua this morning, I related to this story Iwrote some twelve years ago. It's a little longer than usual so stick with metill the end.

“Where ya goin’? Can I come too Grandpa!?!!?” I couldn’t tell you how many times these words came from the mouth of lil’ Michael. One of the biggest blessings in my life was to have grown up 1 mile down the road from my grandparents.

I can remember the early years when mom would make that 1-mile morning drive to help with chores and I suppose some of the earliest memories were of the warm springtime sunshining through the south facing picture windows as I was “too little to just be out wandering around”.

So, I would be rolling around under Grandma’s coffee table, tipping grandma’s old green foot “stool” which was more like a vinyl covered straw bale. Flat on the bottom, padded on the top and the sides were slightly rounded. So, I would tip it on its side and use it like a rocking horse . . . or a wild snorting bull. IT WAS BUILT JUST LIKE ONE!

Anyway, in the attempt to keep my rambunctious nature from destroying her furniture I would find myself getting a good washing and on the highchair beside grandma in the kitchen, baking bread, picking dough off my fingers (that in itself would keep me busy for some time, picking off one hand only to stick to the other). Or she could channel my energy on cleaning every stitch of cake batter off a set of beaters.  

One of my favorite ways to pass the time was to sit and thumb through the many picture albums she had. Or perhaps I would carry the clothespin bucket to the clothesline for her.

As I grew the timespent inside quickly disappeared.  Springtime was always fun with new calves bouncing around. They were often as curious about me as I was of them. Both inching ever so slowly closer and closer. . .one of three things would come of this. Either the young critter would allow me to love on it, scratching its back and behind its ears, all critters like that. . . .or just as we closed that final inch the calf would exhibit its spunk, springing in the air letting out a little bawl and of course startling me back a few steps . . . and then there was the 3rd possibility . . . as that last inch was closed a young “Lane Frost” would lunge atop the little critter and go for his “8 second ride” which truth be told was likely closer to 4 seconds . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, splat. . ..After winning my gold buckle (also figuring one land in the mud was enough), I would go find one of my other favorite things about springtime.

Me being a mechanic by trade would come to no surprise to my granddad. He often said after I went to trade school for auto mechanics,

“Yeah, from an early age Michael could take ANYTHING apart. . .and now he can put some of it back together.

Grandpa always was right on task when it came to farming.  Springtime meant prepping equipment for seeding.

“Where ya’ going?” . . .

“Oh, just down here to pull the cultivator and the drills up by the shop.”

“Can I come Grandpa!!!”

And as you all know it is a very rare occasion that a grandpa tells you no. So off we went, backing up to the toolbar Grandpa would clean off those hoses with shiny ends on them (hydraulic lines) and hook them to the tractor and then say,

“Ok. Pull that lever back.”

And with a puffed chest and a “HERE WE GO!” I signal handedly would lift that gigantic cultivator off the ground and onto its wheels. Of course, as I got older and learned how things worked, I knew that all I did was “single handedly” move a lever. ANY WAY! This was real man’s work! Grandpa would drop the draw bar pin in and climb back atop the tractor propping me up on his lap, shifting it into gear he’d say,

“Ok . . .take us up there.”

I was king of the world!  Taking a hold of that wheel with authority, doing just like grandpa did rocking the wheel back and forth. Never mind the fact that the old girl had a little slack, and I could move the wheel a good 2 inches and never change course. But again, this is totally beside the point! I single handedly moved that equipment. . . perhaps 20 yards or so.

After the equipment was out in the open where it could be worked on, I would ask,

“What are we fixin’ Grandma?”

Grandpa would work on changing cultivator shovels, while uncle Ardie and I (I use the “and I” part loosely) would clean out the drills. Often when first throwing the lids open a hand full of mice would scurry around and I’d jump and giggle and uncle Ardie would laugh and say,

“I don’t know about you.”

After cleaning out the drills, checking drive chains, and being sure that all the necessary fittings were greased, and the new shovels were on the cultivator, the two would then be hooked together. Uncle Ardie would then back the old 65 Chevy truck up to the shop and it would get the best sweeping a man had ever seen. The drill-fill was then slid in place at the end gate on the truck, which was a gas-powered grain auger with an extendable pipe on it that could be used to fill the drills, hence the clever name “drill fill.”

It was always an exciting day when it was all setting south of the house already to go… drills full…fuel full and all in tip top shape with grandpa at the helm of his ship! He would shift into gear and with skill and one fluid motion the clutch was out, the tool bar was going down and the engine was brought up to speed. The black smoke would roll, the ground would break, and a grandson would cheer, waving proudly at his grandpa I would head off to conquer the world one round at a time.

I am so thankfulthat I had such a man to follow.

In the closing of Joshua chapter 3 the point is made that the Israelites looked to those going ahead of them, those that would be walking with the Arc of the Covenant. As they stepped in faith, God would use their faith to strengthen the faith of those following them.

As a young child I didn't insist on following my grandpa because he was big and mean, or because he was the most glamorous man I knew. I followed grandpa because he was kind and loving. Because he made it known that I was welcome and that he wanted me around. He enjoyed teaching me new things and was nearly always gentle with me. These would not be the sole criteria I would use to determine who to follow throughout my life but are attributes that I find myself seeking to display to those that might follow me. We all follow someone, and we all lead someone.

There is no way around it.

We are constantly being influenced and being an influence. Choose wisely on both counts because years down the road it will make a difference one way or the other.

Know who you're following. Know who is leading. Know Jesus and make Jesus known.

- Mike

Mike Andersen is a graduate of Next Step Recovery Ministries. Mike currently serves as a teacher at Next Step and helps with various other activities such as community connections, BLOG posts, and various other activities. You can reach Mike at mandersen@nextstepmin.org

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