E-pistle December 31

Ten Most ________People
It’s the time of the year for Top Ten Everything lists. There are top ten news stories of the year, top ten i-phone apps, top ten movies, top ten moments in sports (Desean Jackson’s 77-yard punt return) top ten political scandals (only ten?).  You name it, there’s a top ten list for it.
In fact, there’s a site called Business Insider that has compiled The Top Ten "Top Ten Lists” of 2010. They include Time Magazine’s Top Ten Everything of 2010  and my favorite, Vanity Fair’s Top Ten Worst Top Ten Lists of 2010.  And then there is Barbara Walters’ traditional Ten Most Fascinating People of the Year, with only a couple of exceptions, people I find remarkably unfascinating. But that’s just my opinion.
Barbara Walters has got me thinking, though, about the people in my life this past year. So I decided to come up with a top ten list of my own, and it would be just my opinion.  I compiled my list, but haven’t yet come up with an adjective.  These people are more than fascinating, and “important” doesn’t quite do it. “Special” is on my top ten list of over-used adjectives and I won’t use it.
The people on my list (and there are 13 – I cheated and made a couple of sub-categories in order to include them all) have in common that they have been used by God in my life to challenge, encourage, inspire, exhort, comfort and support. They are the most ________ people in my life for 2010.

I decided not to include any family members among my Ten (+3) because they really are in a category by themselves.  Though for #1 in Top Ten Amazing Grandkids in the Whole World, I do have a nomination.
It is interesting thinking about my Top Ten (13). They do not all know each other. I’m not sure they’d all like each other if they did. They do not all live in the same state or even the same country. But because they were used by God in 2010, most of them are people from around here, where I spent most of my 2010.  They span six decades in age and I go way back with some and not far back with others. 
Since no network has asked me about a broadcast special to reveal their names, I think I will keep their identities to myself; my list.
As he writes to his good friends in Philippi, the Apostle Paul is encouraging faithful Christian living and tells them to “Join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us.” (Philippians 3:17 RSV) My Top Ten Plus Three are just the type of people I think Paul has in mind.  People whose words and deeds are consistent, whose faith and commitment are real, whose willingness to risk and give for the sake of Christ are so much a part of their lives that they don’t think twice about risking and giving. 
Those Top 10 (or so) are blessings from God. They are those whose lives are marked for they "so live" and I have been given an example in them.
So I guess I could call them my Top Ten Most Marked People for 2010. 
Who are the marked people in your life? Is it hard to come up with ten or is it hard to limit it to ten? Who are your Philippians 3:17 people? And why not thank those who are.
As we head into a new year, let’s all of us being on the lookout for marked people.