My first hero was undoubtedly the amazing Jim Elliot who died in 1956. His journals are still worth reading by every young person - the abbreviated version is Shadow of the Almighty.
Later, I developed a love for Spurgeon, and for Lloyd-Jones. These men became my heroes; and as I began to preach, I tried to imitate these giants. (I still do.)
And then, after that, I developed a respect and gave 'hero status' to many lesser men - those pastor/preachers who are never 'mightily used by God', never speak at conferences, never write books, never see their churches grow dramatically - but they remain faithful. They remain at their posts. Often, they have to do secular work alongside their ministry, just to survive. They are heroes.
Most recently, I've begun to recognise another class. I referred to them in last Sunday evening's sermon on Godly Ambition. This is how I closed the sermon:
I have my heroes; Jim Elliott, missionary to the Aucas in
martyred in the fifties as a young man.
Lloyd-Jones, standing firm for preaching and the gospel in a
compromising age. Spurgeon, who is still
known as ‘prince of preachers’ and who reached thousands of the lost, built an
orphanage, started a seminary… and so on. Ecuador
But increasingly, my heroes are men like some of our own elders and Board members - and I say it in their presence. Men who work hard and have the respect of their co-workers; men who serve the Lord at work and at church and in their families. Men who really are ‘sold out for Jesus’ - but never make a fuss about it. And when I pray for them - and I do - I pray ‘Lord, let me be like them.’ It’s my ambition.