The Measure of a Man/Ministry
I never met a man who accomplished more in his life and ministry than did Dr. Jack Hyles. Yet, I never met a man less pretentious about all that he accomplished than Dr. Hyles. In all the years I knew him I never once felt that he was measuring anyone else’s ministry by his own. In fact he often elevated other ministries above his own because he saw in them greatness that others might have not seen.
In a world where it seems everything must be measured, it is sometimes difficult for us to realize the importance of those people whose works cannot be measured. For example, let me tell you about Bucky Buchanan. Who is Bucky Buchanan you ask? Let me tell you.
Bucky Buchanan is an important member of the Dallas Cowboys organization. What has Bucky Buchanan ever done? Well first of all let me tell you how how not to measure him. Do not measure him by rushing yards gained because he never took a handoff from a quarterback. Do not measure him by tackles made because he never played on the defense. Do not measure him by completions thrown because he never threw a single pass. Do not measure him by interceptions made because he never played as a past defender. Do not measure him by field goals made because he never attempted a field goal. I could go on and list so many different measuring sticks by which we can not measure Bucky Buchanan.
So how do we measure Bucky Buchanan? Well, we don’t. However, we value him based upon what he has been chosen to do. Bucky Buchanan is the second-generation equipment manager for the Dallas Cowboys. He followed in the footsteps of his father who endeared himself to the organization. Bucky Buchanan now carries on the work his father once did of handling the equipment for the players. His name is never found in sports headlines. We never read about his stats. He is one of those individuals whose value cannot be measured.
Recently a Pastor friend, a good man, criticized another preacher to me by comparing the other man’s accomplishments to his own. In others words he measured the other man’s success by himself. This is a teachable moment for all of us!
My friend, nothing can be more dangerous than measuring someone by you because that borders on pride. To measure anyone by you is to say that you are the standard by which people can be measured. Do you measure your ushers by you? Do you measure your nursery workers by you? Yet you would measure another man of God by you?
I never knew Dr. Hyles to do that. I never knew him to measure anyone to himself. He never measured other preachers by his own preaching. He never measured other men’s soul winning by his own converts. He never measured another man’s ability to pastor by his own attendance. To him a man’s value was not found by measuring him against another. His value was in fulfilling the purpose for which God called him, which sometimes could not be measured.
Rudy Atwood could never have measured up to Jack Hyles but Rudy Atwood could do something Jack Hyles couldn’t do. He could sit at the piano with a glorious smile on his face and play Heavenly Sunlight, lifting our hearts heavenward. You cannot measure that.
Ford Porter never built a giant church, yet Dr. Hyles never measured Ford Porter by that yardstick. He valued him by his unmeasurable power in prayer and his ability to write one of the great gospel tracks of all time, used to point untold numbers of people to Christ.
Bill Burr built a good church in Beckley, West Virginia, but it was never a giant church by any means. Yet Dr. Hyles never measured Bro. Burr by that measuring stick. He valued him by his ability to prepare our hearts for a message with a great song of the faith with his beautiful baritone voice.
The value of a man was not in comparison to himself, but by that which God made that man to be. He was more impressed by others than he was by himself. He valued their gifts. He valued what they brought to the cause of Christ. He could preach for a man running 200 in Sunday school and marvel that someone could build a church running 200 in a difficult place like that.
He valued Joe Boyd for the tent revivals he preached. He valued CW Fisk for the souls he brought down the aisle that he personally won to Christ. He valued Ray Boardway for the steady job he did leading the choir and the congregational singing. He valued people based upon what God used them to do not by comparing them to himself.
I would say that Dr. Hyles valued the little people, but to him there were no little people. I would say that he valued those who did the little jobs, but to him there were no little jobs. You see he knew that everyone’s value was different and he was not the measuring stick for anyone else. Make no mistake about it, he challenged us to do more, but he never measured us by what he did.
Let me tell the rest of the story about the man who was being measured by my dear brother who was being critical. He measured a man who at one time built a thriving Sunday school and church, but through great difficulties lost his buildings and had to start all over again. He could have quit. He could have made excuses, but instead he started afresh against great odds. He measured a man who for twenty years has faithfully gone to the nursing homes and jails in his town, not occasionally, but every Sunday. He has won literally thousands of people to Christ, many who would soon enter eternity and others who were at the lowest points of their lives. Week after week after week he faithfully has gone to those jails and those nursing homes like few other pastors I have ever known.
He was measuring a man who has been involved in restoring as many preachers as any man I know, other than Dr. Hyles. He has given himself to salvage ministries of men for whom he would never receive credit publicly. I know the man he was measuring and I see in him qualities that I seldom see in other men. Dr. Hyles would have valued him. He would never have measured that man against himself. He would have found what that man was made to do and recognized his value based on that. Not only that, he would have encouraged him and made him feel valued. I saw him do that time and time again. Many men were used more because Dr. Hyles valued them instead of measuring them.
Yes, there are those who are great quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, blockers, tacklers, defensive backs, and other positions who will gain recognition from accomplishments which can be measured. But a good team cannot function without men like Bucky Buchanan. Greatness is in valuing Bucky Buchanan’s for what they bring to their position. It is not in measuring them to others to whose stats they can never attain. May God help all of us to stop measuring others by ourselves, or to ourselves by others for that matter. Value them based upon what God made them to do and to be.