Only one of the men in this picture is a legend. I was having lunch recently with my friend Steve, at one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas and as we were leaving we ran into Lee Roy Jordan. It was a thrill to meet him and to have this picture made with him. He was very kind to take time to visit for a few minutes. He spoke with great appreciation for having had the opportunity to play football for Bear Bryant and Tom Landry. After seeing this picture one of my "close friends," responded by saying, "Sweet Jethro Pugh, it's Lee Roy Jordan and a preacher!" If you happened to grow up in Alabama in the sixties and if you happened to be a Crimson Tide fan, you will recognize the name Lee Roy Jordan as one of the great ones who played for the Bear. Jordan helped lead Alabama to a National Championship. In 1963 Jordan was drafted by the Cowboys to play for Coach Tom Landry. He helped lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowls and he was a five time Pro Bowl selection. By nearly everybody’s definition Landry was a legend. One definition of a legend is a person who inspires others. Typically when we think of legends, athletes, actors/actresses, politicians, inventors, etc. come to mind.
Thinking about Jordan and other athletes that we might consider to be legends, caused me to consider a few different types of legends. I think about the old preacher who never received a college education, never preached for a large church, never keynoted a lectureship, and was unknown outside the small communities where he preached. However, this man of God baptized hundreds, strengthened thousands in his lifetime through his preaching of the Word, made the communities where he lived better places, encouraged many young preachers, loved the brotherhood, and promoted unity among the people of God. This preacher was a legend. I think about the young sister who attends church every service without her husband. She gets the children ready, drives some distance, is involved in the life of the church, and encourages others with her faith. She does all of this without ever complaining. This sister is a legend. I think about the widow who also comes to worship every time the people of God are gathered together. She attended worship with her husband for more than fifty years. She is now alone, but she is always a source of encouragement to others. This dear sister is a legend. I think about the teenager who goes to church by himself because he is the only one in his family who is a Christian. He obeyed the Gospel because a friend invited him to church. He is growing in his faith and he is doing his best to lead others to the Lord (including his family). This young man is a legend. I think about the young couple who work all week to make ends meet. They have family devotions with their children, they read the Bible with their children, they pray with their children, they are teaching their children that the Lord and His church come first. They put the Lord and the church above school work, athletic events, neighborhood activities, and everything else. This couple is legendary. I think about the missionary family who has to raise their support, report to multiple elderships, live thousands of miles away from their family, and live way below their means. This family is legendary. I think about the retired preacher who continues to preach nearly every week, helping congregations that do not have a full-time preacher. He gives whatever small amount they pay him, plus more back to the church. He helps churches in numerous ways. This man is a legend. I think about the youth minister who isn't interested in popularity, but is interested in making a difference in the lives of the young people he influences. He teaches the Bible rather than pop culture. His ministry is much more than a job. This brother is a legend. I think about the sister who has cancer and is in constant pain. She never complains, she always encourages others, she worships regularly with God’s people, and she lives her life bringing Glory to God. This dear sister is a legend. I think about the young man who attends worship every time the doors are open in a wheel chair. No one in his family is a Christian. He always has a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone. He loves the Lord and he loves life. He leads a beautiful heartfelt prayer. Someday he will get out of that wheelchair and leap through the halls of Heaven. This brother is a legend. I think about the elders who are committed to the Lord and His Will for our lives. They refuse to buy into the "spirit of the age," they will not let the vocal minority rule the church, and they cannot be bought. They require that God's Word be faithfully taught from the pulpit, in Bible classes, and in all church events. They work to help the church grow, however they will not grow at the expense of doing what is right. They refuse to change God's plan for worship just because it might bring more people in. They are not a board of directors, but they are men who shepherd the flock of God. These men are legends. So what about you? Tell us about the legends in your life?
Dear God, thank you for teaching us, encouraging us, and challenging us through the lives of others.