Yesterday the Lord brought home a saint named Howard Hendricks at the age of 88. Howard was a longtime professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and a popular speaker at events like Promise Keepers. He was considered a mentor and friend to many of today’s prominent Christian leaders. Despite authoring 18 books and preaching around the world in more than 80 countries, Hendricks was perhaps best known for his influence on other Christian leaders such as Charles Swindoll, Tony Evans, Joseph Stowell and David Jeremiah.
My own connection with Howard came as result of the biography I wrote on Ray Stedman, A Portrait of Integrity. As I was doing research for the book, my wife and I were able to spend a weekend with Howard and his wife Jeanne on the Oregon coast. I found him to be humble, gracious and very witty. I learned that Ray and Howard were the best of friends. They used to sit under a grove of pecan trees at Dallas Seminary and talk about what they called “Nutty Theology.” They lived on campus in an area Howard called “Trailerville.” Howard was quick to name Ray the Mayor of Trailerville after Ray failed to show up at a board meeting. From that time on, Howard could call Ray whenever anything went wrong! Not only did Howard have a great sense of humor, but he was an incredibly loyal friend. He showed up unexpectedly at Ray’s 25-year anniversary at Peninsula Bible Church, interrupting Ray after he had just begun preaching, and announced, “Sit down, Stedman. It’s my turn.” He was also there at Ray’s side when Ray was in his final days. Ray’s last words to Howard were, “Carry on, Howie.”
And he did! Howard carried on for two more decades, faithfully serving the Lord he loved so dearly. We will miss Howard Hendricks. He is another member of the greatest generation that we have lost. I leave you with one great quote from Howard that sums up the kind of man he was: “I’m not what everybody in the world says is great. I’m just a servant of Christ, that’s all.”