Have you ever heard a message so compelling that you listen over and over again? (It's a sad reflection on my own distracted heart that not every sermon hits me this way.) Most recently, it was a message about William Tyndale by John Piper from the New Attitude conference that stirred such affections. I retrieved it out of the iPod of Good Intentions, that vessel of compulsively collected sermons that often attract electronic dust before I remember to listen to them. But am I ever glad I hit play on this one!
First, I am a dedicated fan of Piper's biographical messages, for they blend church history with a sermon. I am both instructed and edified at their conclusion. (This is why I also collect his "The Swans Are Not Silent" series of biographies.)
Second, I relish Piper's tangents. As he traced the life of the man who most profoundly affected both the English language and the English Bible, Piper took the young audience to task for their flabbiness in communication. He rested his verdict on one word: "like." Preach it, pastor! Despite my active dislike of this verbal hiccup, if you hear it often enough, it imprints itself on your brain, making it nearly impossible to avoid, like, regurgitating it later on. I mentally reprove myself every time I catch it coming out of my mouth. Which it does, unfortunately.
Third, I am galvanized by Piper's passion for the big picture of the Kingdom. As he spoke of William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for his translation of the English Bible, Piper said: "Forty two years old. Never married. Never buried." Then he went on to implore those who listened to appreciate the spiritual heritage they have and to continue the work of translating the Bible into other languages. His concluding charge was simple but heartfelt: "I plead with you, don't waste your life. Male or female, be like William Tyndale."
Amen. Get it now. Get it for free. Be informed and be edified. No excuses.