Dr. Billy Graham was once asked what his greatest regrets were. He had several that he mentioned, but I’ve included a quote on his regret that he didn’t study the Bible more:
I would spend more time studying the Bible and meditating on its truth, not only for sermon preparation but to apply its message to my life. It is far too easy for someone in my position to read the Bible only with an eye on a future sermon, overlooking the message God has for me through its pages.
He preached the Gospel to millions of people and led hundred of thousands to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, he claimed that he missed the boat in some ways. Why did he feel this way? Dr. Graham understood that one day he would give an account for how he had handled God’s Word, and he felt that at times he had not handled it appropriately.
Why would I want to pursue my PhD? Because I have so much more to learn. I’m not just attempting to get better at administrative tasks. I’m doing my best to get better at handling God’s Word and applying it my life. A few days ago, I had lunch with Maj. Jeff Struecker, PhD. You may recognize his name as he was one of the main actors in the downed Black Hawk episode in Mogadishu. If you saw the movie “Black Hawk Down,” you saw his heroism on display. Maj. Struecker had over 20 years in the military leading men and women, but he knew there was so much more to learn. That is why he pursued his PhD at Southeastern. That’s why I am here. I want to sit at the feet of men who love Jesus and are serving Him well. Between Drs. Jeff Struecker, Larry Purcell, and Chuck Lawless, I have an amazing faculty around me who want to help me grow as a Christian, father, pastor, and scholar. I also have an amazing church family that supports me in every way they can!
How about you? How are you intentionally seeking growth in your personal life? We cannot just leave this up to chance. Billy Graham regrets not taking steps to grow. Don’t let that be you. Pursue growth in every avenue possible: personal and corporate Bible study, praying, mentoring and being mentored…etc. We are not done growing; we will not stop growing until we see Jesus face to face. I want all of us to grow in godliness. I want us to keep learning and one day hear Jesus say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I want us to be the church Christ has called us to be in every way imaginable. 2 Timothy 2:15 - “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
P.S. – See you all Sunday as I begin a series through the book of Mark!