The great Scottish preacher Peter Marshall once said “It’s not the duration of a life that counts but the donation”.
How thankful Southern Baptist should be for the duration and donation of the life of Adrian Rogers. I had the opportunity to meet him on four different occasions, each time he looked intently into my eyes, and expressed genuine and heartfelt interest in my own ministry journey.
Dr. Rogers reminds me of another great man of God the legendary George W. Truett pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas from 1897- 1944. Dr. Truett like Dr. Rogers was a world renowned preacher, a dignified statesman, on one occasion preaching to 15,000 from the steps of the Capital building in Washington D.C, and a three time president of our beloved convention.
In the course of my own pastoral duties I visited recently in the home of a recent guest that attended the church I pastor. In meeting him, I discovered an 85 year old man with a PhD from the University of Colorado, who taught pharmaceutical chemistry there for 48 years! In our conversation I quickly discovered that he did his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas, and had lived in Dallas for a time. I asked a question that I couldn’t wait to ask . . . did you ever hear the far-famed preacher Dr. George W. Truett. His reply . . . yes, he had not only heard him but had met Dr. Truett on several occasions, in fact he lived in the YMCA across the street from First Dallas. Stunned by listening to him recall events that took place more than six decades ago, I was about to be further astonished. His precious wife reached into a stack of papers on the table where we were seated and handed me two letters written by Dr. Truett to American service men and women waging war at that time! On the day I visited them they just happened to be cleaning out their filing cabinet! The letters were written in June and September of 1943! Each letter pledged continued prayers from Dr. Truett and the people of First Dallas for those in the ongoing conflict. The letters revealed a busy pastor, not to busy to care and personally write the several hundred sons and daughters of the great First Baptist Dallas who were serving at war. The letters were signed . . . yes signed . . . “Your Pastor and Friend George W. Truett.”
Before I left this precious couple gifted me those two 62 year old letters!
Only God could place a Pastor in a home in Boulder, Colorado to meet an 85 year old professor who then presented a gift that (at this writing) is already framed in my office and will be cherished for the rest of my life.
I am sure that in the decades ahead the generations following will ask us . . . did you ever hear Dr. Adrian Rogers preach? They will wait with anticipation as they hear what he was like and who knows . . . if God grants you a long life (duration) you will make a (donation) into the life of a young minister fifty or so years from now.
Mark Hensley is Pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church in Lafayette, CO.