Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
While I had been aware of these words for quite some time, it is only as of late that I have begun to fully appreciate them. You see, I have always been a reader. I have particularly been fond of reading history. But I also very much like a good story. Indeed, few things are as compelling a swell-crafted novel.
In the past couple of years, however, I have begun to enjoy reading biographies. In reading about the lives of significant individuals from the past, including both their struggles and their victories, both the depths of their valleys and the heights of their mountains, one finds encouragement and inspiration for whatever he or she might be up against today.
Because of this, I would like to recommend a book today for those who communicate the Gospel. It is a work titled Living with the Giants written by Warren Wiersbe. Actually it is a compilation of two earlier works by Wiersbe, titled Walking with the Giants and Listening to the Giants respectively. In this masterful work, Wiersbe shares short biographies of 32 of the most effective Christian communicators of the last few centuries.
Now, I recognize that not everyone will be drawn to a book about a bunch of dead preachers. But, as Martin Luther once reminded us, if you are follower of Jesus Christ, then, irrespective of your avocation (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc…), your one true vocation is to be a Christian who glorifies Jesus Christ by the way you live your life and by the way you share your faith.
So, if you want to be a good ball coach, then reading a book on the life of Vince Lombardi would probably be well worth your time. If you are an aspiring politician, then reading a book on the life of Abraham Lincoln would certainly be beneficial. And if you are a budding historian, then Plutarch’s Live of the Noble Greeks and Romans would serve you well.
And as Christians, surely the lives of noble believers who have come and gone before us should inspire and motivate us as well. Many such people’s lives are recorded in The Holy Bible. But many, many more have lived and died since the Scriptures were completed. So, don’t overlook this valuable treasure trove of material. To do so would surely be to rob yourself of a tremendous blessing.
NOTES: The two earlier editions, Walking with the Giants and Listening to the Giants, each contain miscellaneous sections about preaching, etc… that are not included in the later compilation; but both the biographies and bibliographies (containing the best books of and by each subject) remain the same.
Reviewers point out that, while the short bios are heartwarming, these lists are the true prize to be found in Wiersbe’s work.
Speaking of reviews, they are all quite favorable. The chief criticism seems to be that Wiersbe leaves off some names that one might think should be included, such as Martin Lloyd-Jones, Clovis Chappell, etc… At the same time, he also chooses to include several lesser known but equally inspirational men.
POEM SOURCE: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw232.html.
BOOK SOURCE: Warren W. Wiersbe, Living with the Giants: The Lives of Great Men of the Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993).