This week Warren Wiersbe went home to Heaven. In 2015 Howard Hendricks lost his earthly battle to cancer. Last year Billy Graham passed into Glory.
I didn’t grow up at the ballpark. I didn’t have a stack of baseball cards. Sure I attended a few games with my dad but guys wearring pinstripes and stirrup socks were never my heroes. I grew up in the church and in high school.my godly Christian schoolteachers took me to Bible Conferences. It may be a little nerdy but I didn’t go to Fenway or Yankee stadium Dad and I once drove to a week long preaching conference in North Carolina. I visited Torrey Gray Auditorium two or three times befote graduating high school. There I heard Warren Wiersbe, Chuck Colson, Billy Graham, Stuart Briscoe, Chuck Swindoll……I coukd go on and on. I heard EV Hill preach, “When God was at His Best” seated next to my Dad at Moody Church, in Chicago.
Bible ir no Bible Howard Hendricks and Warren Wiersbe were masters of their craft; eloquent wordsmiths and gifted orators. They coukd hold your attention, get you to think, and say things in a wsybthat helped you pack them up and carry them away.
I have collected their recirded sermons like some might collect coins or keepsakes. Each time I listen I come away with new insights and ideas on how to be a better teacher, presenter, and pastor.
Like all of our heroes I cannot inagine thevworld without them. There promotion definitely leaves the room we are in dimmer. In some sense I know how Joshua must have felt when Moses died. In the quietness of that moment of loss God knowingly spoke to Joshua’s fragile uncertainty. He said these words, “don’t be afraid…I Am with thee….and the mighty Word and Spirit that filled Moses…is available to you. The mighty things you saw Me do in Him….I am prepared to do in you…and even greater.”
“Hard to believe,” Joshua must have thought. “Hard to conceive. Difficult to grasp. Difficult to accept. But Joshua did….and God did.
I am greatful for these greatmen who devoted themselves to God’s Word and helped me learn it and love it. I appreciate their sense of humor and playfulness. It was never a chore to listen or an hour that left me bored.
Like rgecwriter of Hebrews I see that I have been surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Now they are in the stands..and I remain on the track below. As I pause to watch them enter the stands they take their places and then turn. They begin to clap and cheer and shout encouragements. There race is finished, but mine is not.
I smile and firmly grip the baton they placed in my hand. My feet scuffle the grave as I wave to them in their seats and turn to make my next lap.
I hope I can run like they do. I don’t have the same gait or stride. We don’t even wear the same colors, but as I run I am also reminded that somewhere someone may be watching me and watching to see how I finish. I quicken my pace and take the next turn, determined to run with patience the race that has been set before me…looking and leaning forward determined to finish well.