Peter Lord helped me to first hear God’s voice and has been influential in my life. Jeff Goins and I had a chance to meet with him last year at a Cracker Barrel on the interstate near his home in Titusville, FL.
For over an hour, he shared his profound insights on spiritual matters while munching on our biscuits and jelly. Yet, we saw a man approaching 80 who gets tired and still struggles.
In a world numbed by Christian pop stars and spiritual elites, this was a relief and a surprise. His raw honesty made him believable and attractive to my restless heart that at 50 is still searching for some solid truth to grasp.
We asked Dr. Lord what he thought about the church in America, and he said, “It’s better than nothing.” We all laughed, our spirits tweaked about what he meant. He told us that he thought it could be a lot better and that he wouldn’t recommend having a church of more than 12 people. Once you get larger than that, the weak people don’t speak up, and church, he said, was particularly for the weak.
If he could have done it over again, he wouldn’t have preached so much. “No one remembers what you say, anyway,” he told us with a sigh. He lamented wasting so many words and so much time instead of choosing to disciple like Jesus did by taking a few key players aside and building into their lives.
Despite the fact the he is long since retired, he still meets regularly with a handful of people each week and helps them with the fundamentals of Christian discipleship. It seems that towards the end of his life, Dr. Lord has attained a wonderful focus.
Dr. Lord told us the story of driving past a billboard advertisement for a $60 million lottery jackpot. He sincerely prayed to God, “Lord, give me the numbers, and I’ll give every penny to missions.” He admitted that he really believed God would give him the numbers. He received this answer from the Lord:
“If I thought gold could change the world, I would have sent gold instead of my Son.”
Our hearts leaped at this statement; I was immediately convicted. Wow, I thought. How many of us in ministry grieve the fact that if we only had more funding that we’d quite naturally have more opportunities?
Dr. Lord confirmed a truth that I’d been learning for a few years now: God’s principle means for accomplishing his will on earth is man. There is no Plan B. We are the answer. It’s not an issue of money, but of willingness.
The conversation was refreshing and reminded us of how much wisdom so many of our retired leaders have.