Recently I finished reading biographies of two preachers.
David Ring is an evangelist who was born with cerebral palsy. What a remarkable story. He lost his mother and father before he finished school. He was clearly disadvantaged.
God has used him in powerful ways. I have been privileged to hear him preach. He challenges his listeners who make excuses with his classic line. "I have cerebral palsy. What’s your problem?’
The other book was about Erwin Lutzer, longtime pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. He was born to a poor farming family in Canada. His parents were of Eastern European descent, immigrants from the Ukraine. By providence, they met and were married for 77 years before his father died at age 106. How many lessons are there in that story?
Among other biographies on my shelf are those about Charles Colson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Ronald Reagan, Christopher Reeves and Billy Graham. And then there is Pete Maravich.
When I was in high school, I idolized Pistol Pete. I wore my hair like his, cut the elastic out of my socks so they would droop around my shoes, and tried to play the game with the same flair he used.
More than once, I sent behind-the-back passes to my teammates. Too many times they landed in the laps of cheerleaders or fans in the first row. I tried to avoid eye contact with the coach when that happened.
In reading about Maravich, I learned something that I did not know when I was young. He was miserable throughout most of his career. He did not enjoy what he was doing. He did not enjoy the money or the fame. He became addicted to alcohol and drugs.
Later in life, he came to faith in Jesus Christ, and his life was changed. Until that time, he had no real hope for the future. So many things cross my mind. I was jealous of someone who really did not have as good a life as I did. I know that the treasures of this world do not suffice. I remember that there is a God-shaped hole within each of us, and we are never satisfied until it is filled with God.
We can learn from others. But we need to be careful to remember that our heroes are fallen. There is only one who has lived a perfect life, and we are called to worship and serve him. His name is Jesus. I pray you know him.