I’ve learned so much from church leaders since God called me to preach when I was 13 years old. Some men have taught me about leadership. Others have introduced me to great books. I’ve learned vision casting, tithing, fasting, and church discipline from other men of God.
Two men, though, have most marked my life. One is now with the Lord (though I use present tense in the list below), and the other continues to serve the Lord in retirement. These two men have shown me seven characteristics that I’ve seldom forgotten – and that I’ve never seen combined in believers other than these men:
- They always speak of Christ to others. I’ve never been with either man without hearing him talk about Jesus. Many waiters, flight attendants, convenience store workers, home repairmen, doctors, and others have heard the gospel because their lives crossed paths with my spiritual heroes.
- They always pray. I don’t ever recall being in a meeting with either man – either an official work meeting or just a personal conversation about life – that did not end in prayer. They speak to God as if He really were their best friend, and I get the sense He is.
- I have never heard either man say anything off color or immoral. Never. Not once. Not even close. One of my heroes even once spelled the word “darn” when quoting to me somebody else’s words. It was as if their minds are so pure that they never go there.
- I have never heard either man speak negatively about another human being. Once again, never have I heard them badmouth or ridicule others. They probably could, I’m sure, because both men have seen the underbelly of Christian organizations and denominations, but they choose not to. That’s godliness.
- They always talk about what they’ve been reading in Scripture. Do you know what it’s like to have a 70 year old, 50-year ministry veteran tell you what he learned in today’s Bible reading? Or ask you your thoughts about a new insight? It’s humbling. It’s convicting.
- They adore their wife and children. Their marriages have truly been partnerships, and their children reflect their parents’ faith in their own walk with God. I have never questioned that they loved their wives as Christ loves the church.
- They make decisions and press on in faith. I guess that’s a byproduct of just walking with God through His Word, in His Spirit, and with His people. You step out in faith and just trust.
I pray that I can be even a little like my spiritual heroes. What characteristics mark(ed) your heroes?