On Monday, December 12, 2012 Meghan, Abigail, and I traveled across town to the home of my pastor and dear friend and mentor – Dr. Jeff Elieff. We were there for the second annual Johnson-Elieff dinner and Christmas candy-making event. We talked, laughed, ate, and made some delicious candy (the white chocolate covered pretzels are all that matter to me).
Highlights of the evening were:
1) Dr. Elieff firing off his aresol rifle, which is also his Christmas present, in the house
2) Humphrey, the dog, being scared by the loud rifle shot to the point that he would not forgive Dr. Elieff until there was food on the table
3) Jacob and Emily, the Elieff children, chastising their father for playing with his Christmas present before Christmas as well as for firing a gun in the home even though it wasn’t loaded
4) Emily checking her body to make sure that she had not been shot after she heard the rifle go off
5) Dr. Elieff saying, and I quote, “I’m gonna put so much vanilla in this fudge that I won’t be able to drive after I eat it”…he quickly replied that he was just kidding.
All jokes aside, it was a wonderful evening. No man has invested in my life so comprehensively as Jeff Elieff; few men have invested even a portion of the time he has. He recognizes that discipleship doesn’t happen in a one-hour long meeting once a week. Rather, discipleship is teaching someone how to make their way through life, how to walk in the way of Christ wisely. Sure, we talk ministry and do churchy things like preaching, teaching, worship, etc. But, we also talk about family, college sports, how to manage money, politics, music, academics, insurance, our health and much more over food or some other place we’re hanging at that day. As a result, we have become friends who help one another with home improvement projects, who pray for one another, who war against a satanic enemy together.
Dinner and making Christmas candy makes memories and provides an opportunity to hangout, but it is much more than another event — it is discipleship. This holiday season I am thankful for Dr. Jeff Elieff. He is a father in the ministry to me, a man I can look up to, and a man I can call if I’ve had a bad day. I love my church.