We owe so much to so many. How can we ever thank them? Daily we stand at a point where we look back at predecessors who have shaped our lives and look ahead to successors whose lives we will shape. The continuous present moves us along this line of vision, but always we look back and look ahead, remembering predecessors and anticipating successors.

God mercifully blurs the future lest we give up our ministry to become its accountant. We have no way of knowing which lives we will affect, and in what manner—an indication of God’s wisdom. But God brings the past into clearer focus and permits us to see the record of predecessors, at least those whose names and deeds are recorded.

God’s gentle cultivation of our humility plays a part in this. Were we to know fully our contribution to our successors we might be tempted to think too highly of ourselves. On the other hand, we might be unmercifully humbled!

We owe much to many whom we have never met. When I look up from writing or editing to “gather wool,” I see names of books and authors I count worthy to be in my study. What would it be like to spend one hour each with G. Campbell Morgan, Saint Augustine, S. D. Gordon, Oswald Chambers, R. W. Dale, J. H. Jowett, Alexander Whyte, H. C. G. Moule, George Whitefield, and a host of others like them? Unfortunately, I never met these men, never had a conversation with them, never listened to them teach or preach. Yet I know them, and have been influenced by them. They stand tall in a long line of the faithful who have preceded me and ministered to my mind and soul. I am indebted to them.

Others have left marks upon us, abrasive marks we would rather forget. We would choose not to honor them since in making their mark on us they have hurt ...

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