A great hero of mine was a man by the name of Bill Hearn. Many of you reading this have never heard of this man, but he was a “giant in the faith” in my book. When I began my work in Wynnewood Bill took me to lunch the first day I was there. He took me to his favorite BBQ place in Davis, Ok. He told me he loved to go here to “buffet his body.”
Like most BBQ joints this one was packed! Bill was well into his 80’s and the idea of standing and eating wasn’t going to fly with him. He asked a couple who had a table if they would mind sharing with us. They said they didn’t mind so we sat down with them (all the while I am feeling uncomfortable for invading on their space.) Bill then asked if they would mind if he paused to thank God for such a fine meal. They assured him that would be fine, so he led us all in prayer. He began talking to these strangers as if he had known them for years. He was truly a great man.
When Bill passed he had been preaching the Gospel for 66 years. He spent much time in Salt Lake City, Utah planting churches (which are still there today.) He was a great man who impacted me greatly. I will never forget two encounters with Bill.
The first: I had just finished preaching a sermon over John chapter 4 on Sunday morning, and Bill approached me. He put his calloused hand on my neck and said “Troy, I have series of lessons I have preached over that chapter for longer than you have ben alive..” in my head I am panicking wondering what in the world I had done/said wrong. Nothing good could come of this. Then he said “You have brought out some lessons from this great text that I have never even thought of, thank you.” Needless to say, I was soaring the rest of the day. That may have been the single greatest compliment anyone had ever given me.
The second: Bill was preparing a sermon that he wanted to preach for our congregation, and he came to my office and sat on my couch and said “Troy, I would really like your input on this sermon.” –WAIT- WHAT?!? I began looking in the eyes of this man who had preached the Gospel for nearly 66 years (I had been at it for 4) and he looked at me and asked me for MY input! I do not ever remember a feeling of being so un-worthy at any other point in my life.
In Luke chapter 5 we see an example of a man who felt completely un-worthy. Peter had been fishing all night long and hadn’t caught anything. Then Jesus instructed him to go out to the deep water and cast his net again. Peter told the Lord that he had been trying all night with no luck. Then Peter said “But at your word, I will let down my nets.” When he did the nets were so full from the catch that they started to break. They had to signal another boat to come and help them haul in the catch. There were so many fish that both boats began to sink.
Then we see these words from Peter: Luke 5:8- 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
How often do we truly feel un-worthy to be called disciples of Christ? How often do we share the feeling that Isaiah had in chapter 6 “I am a man of unclean lips I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” It is my prayer that as we think about our savior, we think of how un-worthy we are to be called “Christians.”
Let us allow our “un-worthy-ness” to ignite our fire. The closer we draw to God the smaller we feel. The smaller we feel the harder we work. The harder we work, the more we accomplish. The more we accomplish, the more glory He receives.