Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mornings with Giants

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with two men who I consider to be giants in the faith. J.I. Packer was visiting Christianity Today and Curt invited me to what we thought was a breakfast where Dr. Packer would be speaking. What it turned about to be was a breakfast with just three of us and Dr. Packer, the man who wrote Knowing God and knew C.S. Lewis.

Then just a couple of weeks ago I was invited to a taping of several fathers of the faith. I was asked to drive one of them to the airport. It turned out to be Jack Hayford who is currently the leader of the International Foursquare Church.

I've sometimes thought maybe it is better not to meet people that you have a great respect for because it can be a real letdown. There was no letdown meeting these men. They were as kind with their words as they were with their time.

Here are just a few insights from my short time with them.

No Retirement in sight

Dr. Packer is about to turn 82 this month and Jack Hayford just turned 74 and they are as busy now as they have ever been. Each of them were talking with me about current writing and speaking assignments that they were working on.

A Passion and Concern for the next generation

When I asked Dr. Packer questions about evangelicalism, he would continue to bring the conversation back to young people. He said that his great concern is that young people not shy away from theology in favor of "fun and games". And as I asked Pastor Jack questions, he immediately was in teacher mode, eager to mentor, even in the short time that we had. What I witnessed matched what this season of life seems to be for him, training the next generation.

More focused than ever on Jesus

It seems that getting older just puts everything into focus, especially priorities. The enthusiasm that these two men had for Jesus and his mission was inspiring. Their words transcended cultural trends. I felt that when I was with them, even my own priorities seemed clearer if that makes sense.

2 giants in a month with lessons I will carry with me for a lifetime.