There are two things necessary to being known as a great man of God- being known, and having a reputation as being a great man of God. It is not in the least necessary that you actually be a great man of God. The same skill set by which one labors to become known works quite well in creating the illusion of godliness. This is not to suggest that all well-known men with a reputation for godliness are frauds. It is to suggest, however, that listening to a heartfelt Christian ballad, reading a winsome and insightful book, or being moved by a dramatic sermon is not sufficient evidence. In order to know if someone is a godly man you have to know the man. And in order to know the man, you have to know his family.
I am privileged to know, though most not well at all, many of the past and current rock stars of the evangelical and particularly Reformed world. The men who impress me the most, however, the ones I am quickest to give thanks for, typically are not so well known.
Lyndon Azcuna ministers to men in prison, not the clearest pathway to evangelical rock stardom. He teaches born again men how to fulfill their callings as fathers, even when their past sins separate the men from their children. Better still, however, Lyndon has a wife that clearly and joyfully loves him, and children who concur. Their ready smiles reflect his constant smile. He leads his family by being constrained by gospel joy.
Mark Dewey once had tens of thousands cheering him on, when he pitched in the major leagues. Now he is cheered on by fourteen, his twelve children, his glowing wife and me. Theirs is a household built on the rock of God’s Word, whose rafters shake from laughter. Were it not for his friendship with me I would say he had perfect judgment. Were it not for his frequent morning grumpiness, I could not think of a sin to lay at this man’s feet.
Marion Lovett, Robert Barnes and Laurence Windham all have something in common. They faithfully shepherd the Lord’s flock in small churches. They are not invited to sit on seminary boards or address large gatherings of pastors eager to know their secrets. But they have secrets, important and potent secrets. Each one of them loves his wife openly and clearly. Each one of them delights in his children. Each one of them showers his flocks and his friends with hesed, loyal love. These are men I can count on to do the right thing. And when they fail, they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.
Finally, I know two unknown rock stars who rightly should be rock stars. Randy Winton, whose songbook is covered with blue grass strains, and Nathan Clark George, who milieu is more blue like jazz, are wonderful musicians making God honoring music. But I know them personally. I know, enjoy, respect and admire their wives and quite literally, one by one, their children. I hope their music tops the charts one day. I know, however, that today their Father in heaven delights in them.
The kingdom of God does not come through fame and influence. It comes through believing the gospel, and loving our wives. It comes through giving thanks and laughter. It comes through humble service and simple friendships. I give thanks for these men, and many more just like them.
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