I have just finished reading an amazing book. It is called, "50 People Every Christian Should Know".
And if there was ever a book that lived up to its title, it is this book.
It tells us the stories of men and women of God who lived a life of devotion to God. The stories present a brief biography of each person, and it doesn't sweep any issues that may have raised questions or controversy concerning the people portrayed.
While many of these are well known to most beleivers, such as: C.H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Oswald Chambers, D. L. Moody, A.W. Tozer and a few others, there are many that I have never heard of before.
The book has educated me on such preachers of days gone by such as: William Culbertson, Henry Drummond, R.A. Torrey, W.E. Sangster, Alva Jay McClain, William Whitting Borden and so many others.
Three things that seem to be repeated often in each of the individuals stories is this: obstacles that had to be overcome (poverty, physical disabilities, and lack of education), as well as much time spent in prayer, and much time spent in Bible study.
It also appeared that many of these preachers preached much more than we do today. I read of several of these men who preached five, six, seven times each week or more. It also seemed as though most of them were prolific writers. In fact the author, Warren Wiersbe gives you a critique of the books that each of these saints of old has written, and which ones are the best ones to purchase. If you bought all of the ones reccomened by Wiersbe, well, let me just say that I would probably have to get a second job!
What impacted me the most thought wss the amount of time spent in prayer and study of the Word. One of the preachers in the book is stated to put in 60 hours of study for each message he preached. That is amazing. When you also realzie that they did their study often by candlelight and without any of our modern day aides such as comptuters, computer programs, several different translations of the Scriptures and various other helps, it makes me wonder about many of our preachers today, including myself.
What would happen if I spent 4 or 5 hours per day in study of the word....each day? What would happen if I prayed daily for several hours?
What difference would it make in my spiritual life?
What difference whould it make in the spiriutal life of the church that I pastor?
What difference would it make in my family?
What difference would it make to my neighbors?
What difference would it make to my country?
Is this what may be missing in the church in the USA today?
Could this be the secret to revival in our country?
Have we sold out Jesus, not for thirty pieces of silver as Judas did, but for our favorite tv show?
Have we fallen asleep, not while our Lord is praying in the garden of Gethsemane, but while He weeps for the lost in this country and we are too tired to personally share the gospel because of late hours on the internet?
And that leads me to the last thing I want to share about the men and women portrayed in this book: they were passionate about sharing the gospel to the lost.
We need to be the kind of people who, if the Lord does not come back soon, and they write a new book, of the 2nd 50 people every Christian should know, that you and I are listed in that book....not for personal fame and glory, no....may we never ever seek for attention on us, but for the glory of God, for the sake of future generations, to inspire those who come after us to live their lives in a passionate pursuit of the Lord, in leading the lost to salvation and to leave a legacy of faith, long after we are gone.
I'm off to bed now, planning on rising early...time in prayer, and time in the Word...maybe you will join me?