At a critical point in my spiritual formation, somewhere between 18-23 years old I think, the Lord led me to attend a Sunday School class with a handful of men who were all about three times my age. It was a glorious experience I'll never forget. I remember not talking much, just listening to the wisdom of these men, most of whom didn't have much formal education by today's standards.
One of them went to be with the Lord a couple days ago.
We spent very little time together outside of that class, but his demeanor and the way he taught showed me a love for the Lord and His Word that helped me tremendously. I was in the grip of some judgmental immaturity at the time, in that cage stage of theology, with a sophomoric understanding of the Word. Battling liberalism was the essence of Christian piety, I thought. Not that that's a bad thing, but he showed me so much more - that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), that love for the Lord Jesus shows itself in many quiet ways.
Tomorrow I'm preaching from these verses on 1 Corinthians 4:15-16:
"Though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me."
May the Lord grant Wally Folkert rest and reward in Christ. He was a spiritual father for me at just the right time - a channel God used to give me just what God knew I needed then.
Funny how I wasn't really aware of all this until I heard of his death and thought about my time with him. It is SO important to connect with other believers who are different from us around God's Word!