Jump Start # 3469
Hebrews 11:38 Men of whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Paul Earnhart has died. He passed into the eternal last Wednesday. Paul was an amazing preacher. He was an encourager. He was a help. And, for countless in spiritual Israel today, we knew him as a friend. The tributes have poured in from so many who loved him, learned from him and were touched by his life.
If I could build a modern Mount Rushmore, I’d have the face of Paul Earnhart, along side of Dee Bowman on that mountain. But Paul would have none of that. He’d tell you immediately that he doesn’t belong up there. He’d remind you in his kind manner, that all honor belongs to the Lord.
Here are some things that impressed me about Paul:
First, he was a man of the book. As he preached and as he wrote, it was always about the Lord. His dress was simple. His speech filled with Scripture. There was nothing about him that would draw attention to him. It wasn’t charm, flash, or being cute in his nature. He’d tell you that he was just a common preacher. But the insights he brought and the way he opened Scripture, he put the Lord right before your eyes. He brought passages to life and made Christianity practical, possible and desirable. When you heard Paul preach, you just wanted to be good.
Second, Paul was a friend to preachers. He loved us. He was kind to us. And, in just a few words he could lift our spirits and help us in our work and our journey. Having Paul in the audience made most of us nervous, but he would be the biggest encourager. Just a couple years ago, we had a cancelation in our summer series at Charlestown Road. Our theme was specific and the topic was about older Christians. When looking for a fill in, we turned to bro. Earnhart. He voice was soft spoken but what he said was powerful and as I looked about, nearly everyone was taking notes. He emphasized finishing the race and never retiring from the Lord. Words spoken from a man who lived that way. Long after many have retired, Paul was preaching everywhere he could. He preached until the Lord stopped him.
Third, Paul was kind. His smile when you walked up to him just warmed your heart. He could say things in just the right way that would help you. He was truly a friend.
There are a few things that came to my heart when I heard of Paul’s passing.
First, we are blessed to have known him and been a friend to him. His model of preaching Christ, being humble, and doing good is something we will long remember. Our hearts have been strengthened by his life. There will be others coming along who never knew Paul Earnhart. A true giant in our times. What a blessing for so many of us to say that we heard him preach.
I have talked to old timers who said that they saw Babe Ruth play. That is something they always remembered. Among disciples, it will long be remembered that we got to hear Paul Earnhart preach. That will always be something special to us.
Second, the torch is being passed on to us whether we are ready for that or not. Those wonderful heroes that helped us are crossing the river to the other side. Robert Turner. Dee. Paul. Ed. Their writings helped us. They weathered storms and criticism and stayed the course. Dee once told me that it all came from Paul. Paul would tell me it all came from Sewell. But that generation has laid down their pens. Their voices are now nearly all silent. And, to those of my age, it falls to us. That’s scary. We cannot be what they were, but we must do what we can. There is a generation following us. We must set forth a path that points to the Scriptures and be the kind encouragers and helps as these spiritual giants were to us. We must work hard to set forth examples of Biblical preaching, encouraging and kindness. We don’t want to be the cause for some to quit. We don’t want to be too busy that we do not have the time for others. The torch is in our hands. We must wave it so all can see it.
Third, the glory of the Lord is what defines the life of Paul Earnhart. His love for the Lord showed in his preaching, his writing and his living. He truly loved the Lord. May we come to know and love the Lord that way. I love Paul Earnhart. We had a special conversation about a long ago forgotten preacher named Henry Fricklin. Fricklin was one of the last living pupils of legendary J.W. McGarvey. Late in his life, Fricklin lived with Paul Earnhart. We loved to talk about those things.
I love the Lord. Had it not been for Jesus, I would have never known this Paul Earnhart. Heaven shines a bit brighter the more we know people on the other side.
The world has little time or place for someone like Paul Earnhart. It didn’t for the heroes of Hebrews 11 either. But for you and I, there were giants walking among us and we got to know them. May we live well, do good, and help all. May we bring Jesus before the eyes of the world.
I a blessed to have crossed paths with Paul Earnhart.