“You’re looking at a completely fulfilled human being. If I died today having produced some of the people God has given me the privilege of shaping, it will have been worth showing up on the planet.”
—Prof Hendricks to the Dallas Morning News, 2003
Many in the Christian blogosphere took time last week to pay tribute to Howard Hendricks. Some of his books included As Iron Sharpens Iron, A Life of Integrity, Teaching to Change Lives, The 7 Laws of the Teacher, and Living By The Book. He was a mentor to many, taught the mentoring principle through his teaching and writing. You can read one such tribute at Daily Encouragement, and at Dallas Theological Seminary’s online magazine.
The mentoring principle in scripture is best expressed in the relationship between the Apostle Paul and Timothy, who joins Paul at the beginning of Acts 16:
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him… (ESV)
and in the introduction to his first letter to Timothy, Paul refers to him as a spiritual son:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy my true son in the faith. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
That’s the kind of relationship Howard Hendricks felt every mature Christian should have, and it works both ways; you can ask yourself, ‘Who is my Paul and who is my Timothy?” Sometimes we can emphasize one over the other; we are being helped and influenced by one person but not passing that on; or, conversely, we are constantly giving of ourselves to nurture another person, but nobody is guiding and shaping us. Yes, it is God that forms us, but his desire is that we grow in community. Yes, God uses His Word to teach us, but he also works through other believers He places in our lives.
Many of Hendricks’ quotations online are one-liners from his teachings, but we’ve also included some longer quotations below as well.
- If your religion does not work at home, don’t export it.
- Succeeding in business and failing at home is a cop-out. For no success in the workplace will ever make up for failure at home.
- There is no fear of judgment for the man who judges himself according to the Word of God.
- A good leader has a compass in their head and a magnet in their heart.Our problem is that we are in the Word but not under the Word.
- You cannot impart what you do not possess.
- How big is your God? The size of your God determines the size of everything.
- The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ’s image.
- If you leave the church service thinking about how good the pastor was, he has missed the mark. If you leave consumed with Christ, the pastor has been used by the Lord.
- Man is the only animal which you can pat on the back and his head swells up.
A webpage devoted to Dr. Hendricks at Talbot Theological Seminary contains some longer quotations of which these are two:
The greatest tragedy among Christians today is that too many of us are under the Word of God, but not in it for ourselves. (p. 9) The genius of the Word of God is that it has staying power; it can stand up to repeated exposure. In fact, that’s why it is unlike any other book. You may be an expert in a given field. If you read a book in that field two or three times you’ve got it. You can put it on the shelf and move on to something else. But that’s never true of the Bible. Read it over and over again, and you’ll see things that you’ve never seen before. (p. 81) I think the great need among God’s people today is to get into Scripture for themselves. And because they are not doing so, they are losing the fizz in their spiritual life. They are flat and lukewarm. Nothing is more repulsive. People are weary of words, but they are starving for authenticity. (p. 340)
Living by the book. Chicago: Moody Press. (1991)
Perhaps you find yourself talking more these days and enjoying it less. If so, you may be on the verge of the greatest breakthrough in your Christian life and ministry. Nothing is as easy as talking; nothing is as difficult as communicating. Those to whom you and I effectively communicate are changed; they are never quite the same again. I believe communication is one of the most delicate and critical tasks ever to confront the human mind—especially communicating in the spiritual realm. Here the results affect not only time but eternity. (p. 24)The man or woman who stops learning today stops communicating tomorrow. (p. 26) I have found that the closer I get to an individual, the more influence I have on his life. I talk to many students; unfortunately, I teach very few. Those I teach, I change, and that requires personal involvement. (p. 58)
Say it with Love. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. (1972)