Published September 30, 2014
"The Other Hall of Fame"
As you may have heard by now, the Southern Gospel Music Association last week graciously inducted me into their Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
As I said in my acceptance remarks before more than 10,000 people at the National Quartet Convention, to say that "this is a great honor would be a great understatement." Most of the previous inductees were singers, but there are quite a few songwriters and other industry people as well. But, apparently, my induction is breaking new ground as the first person known primarily for radio work.
Inducted with me in the "living" category, class of 2014, were Faye Speer, Eddie Crook and Claude Hopper. It's been my privilege, because of my work, to know these three worthy individuals for many years. In fact, it's been my privilege also to get to know many of the previous inductees into the Hall of Fame, quite a few of whom are no longer with us.
One previous inductee, Dr. Jerry Goff, told me he believes this is the highest honor the Southern Gospel music community , humanly speaking, can bestow on an individual. I believe he's right. And that makes this especially humbling.
As I told the audience, "For almost 35 years, I've been doing the same thing week after week after week preparing The Gospel Greats program, helping listeners get to know the artists better, sharing what I call the greatest songs about the greatest message, the Gospel. And after all these years, I love, as much as ever, being able to do it."
What's more, if I may quote myself, "I believe God gave us our work. And I believe He's blessed it. Our prayer every week is that He would take what we do and use it for His honor and His glory, and His alone."
And here's the key: "I believe when you give all glory to God, He has a way of reflecting some back on you in the form of a special blessing. And this [the Hall of Fame induction] is simply, I believe, evidence of that."
Now, despite the significance of this honor and in the spirit in which it was given I certainly don't mean to diminish it in any way there is a much greater honor available. And it's an honor that any Christian can strive to attain. It's not given by man, but by God. It's the "Hall of Fame of Faith."
Hebrews 11:4-38 presents a list of well-known previous "inductees" into what's often been called the "Hall of Fame of Faith." It talks about individuals such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and others. But it also alludes to believers of all ages who faithfully trust in the Lord for their deliverance. I believe there have been many, many qualified "inductees" into this Hall of Fame since the canon of Scripture closed.
We as Christians know more precisely what that ultimate deliverance is all about. We know about Christ's blood, shed for the forgiveness of our sins. We know that we can and should walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), so that one day, when the Lord calls us home, our faith will become sight.
Are you counted among the "inductees" in that Hall of Fame? Are you walking by faith? Is your faith so strong that it will be unwavering, regardless of what the world throws at you? Can the Lord call you "faithful" to Him? Is your faith an example to those around you?
Pray that the Lord will strengthen your faith every day through the mighty working of the Holy Spirit in your life, so that one day you'll receive the highest honor of all from the Lord Himself: "Well done, good and faithful servant..."
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PS: If you'd like to see the introductory video the SGMA put together for Paul's induction, click here.
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