Learn as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die tomorrow.
He was my mentor for preaching. As a young ministerial student I followed his ministry with great enthusiasm. He could sprinkle the stardust with his oratories. Without question, he will be remembered as one of the greatest camp meeting speakers of the twentieth century.
Recently, my hero sat across the breakfast table from me. Having been removed from the pulpit, he was a broken man—a life in shambles and a ministry ruined by years of illicit sexual behavior that had finally caught up with him. At his age there was little hope for restoration to ministry.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
As the tears flowed freely, my fallen preacher hero asked for my forgiveness. I reminded him that I loved and forgave him. I emphasized that God in heaven had also forgiven him. He acknowledged that he was forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
As I watched him walk away, shoulders slumped, I thought of the mighty cleansing power of God’s forgiveness and grace. I then thought of the people who might never hear one of his inspirational messages because of his sin. I still think he’s the best ever to stand behind the sacred pulpit.
I know my hero is forgiven by God—just as you and I are. But the consequences of his sin are a grievous thing. We must never forget this any time we are tempted to disobey God’s Word or the leading of the Holy Spirit.