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JOHN STOTT, A HUMBLE MAN


I like the way Thomas Carlyle put it some time ago. He said, "One example is worth a thousand arguments." (Thomas Carlyle, quoted in Men of Integrity, July/August 2000; www.Preaching Today.com)


In difficult times, we don't need dictators and arguments. We need leaders who will show us what to do by the example of their lives.


That was John Stott throughout the latter half of the 20th Century. He passed away just a little more than a week ago (July 27, 2011). He was one of England's great Christian leaders, and he had a profound influence on people all over the world with his commitment to teaching and living out the truths of the Bible.


In fact, in a recent Christianity Today article, Tim Stafford recalls what Latin American theologian Rene Padilla said about one of his early encounters with Stott. "On the previous night we had arrived in Bariloche, Argentina, in the middle of heavy rain. The street was muddy and, as a result, by the time we got to the room that had been assigned to us, our shoes were covered with mud. In the morning, as I woke up, I heard the sound of a brush --John was busy, brushing my shoes. 'John!' I exclaimed full of surprise, 'What are you doing?' 'My dear René,' he responded, 'Jesus taught us to wash each other's feet. You do not need me to wash your feet, but I can brush your shoes.'"


In that same article, Stafford quotes theologian David Wells, who was converted when John Stott came to South Africa in 1959. Later, Wells shared a household with him for five years in the early 1960s. "His leadership was effective," Wells says, "because of his personal integrity and his Christian life. People who knew him always came back to these points. He was known all over the world, but when you met him he was a most devout, humble Christian man. His private life was no different from his public life. It was the same person. That's another way to say that he had integrity. There was no posing."


(Tim Stafford, "John Stott Has Died," Christianity Today, 7-27-11. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Leading Under Fire, 8/5/2011)

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