Thursday, September 19, 2013

Discouraged? Remember Charlie Riggs' prayer, "Lord, put me in over my head." (2 Timothy 2:13)

SCRIPTURE: 2 Timothy 2:13 (TM)
If we give up on him, he does not give up - for there's no way he can be false to himself.

Have you heard the story of Charlie Riggs? Over 50 years ago, he came to Christ and was discipled by a young man named Lorne Sanny, who himself was being discipled by Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators.

Charlie was willing to grow in Christ, but he was a bit rough around the edges and didn’t seem very promising as a Christian leader. When Lorne wrote to Dawson, he told him that Charlie Riggs was the only man he was working with and he felt discouraged by the prospects. Trotman wrote back and said, “Stay with your man. You never know what God will do with him.” So, Lorne Sanny continued to work with Charlie Riggs.

A few years passed and a young man named Billy Graham came on the scene. In 1952, the Navigators “loaned” Charlie Riggs to the Graham team to handle the follow-up in their early crusades. He planned to return to the Navigators eventually. However, he worked out so well that he stayed with Billy Graham.

In 1957, on the eve of the famous New York City crusade at Madison Square Garden, the crusade director suddenly had to be replaced. Who could they get? The lay chairman suggested Charlie Riggs, but Billy Graham wasn’t sure if he could handle the job. “All he does is pray and quote Scripture.”

The layman insisted, Charlie Riggs got the job and the rest is history. The New York campaign became a model for the many crusades that would follow in later years. Billy Graham said, “I didn’t think he could do it. But I had this peace—that Charlie so depended on the Holy Spirit that I knew the Lord could do it through Charlie.”

Charlie Riggs retired after many years of effective service to the Lord. What was his secret? How could a man with little formal training rise to such a high position and hold it for so long?

He says, “I always asked the Lord to put me in over my head . That way, when I had a job to do, either the Lord had to help me or I was sunk.” God was delighted to answer this prayer time after time. He put Charlie Riggs in over his head—and then bailed him out.

Ever get discouraged? Ever feel defeated? We’ve all been there on too many occasions. The occasion, the responsibilities just seems to overpowering that we just want to give up and walk away. To move on to something different. 

We’ve prayed and hoped only to have our prayers go unanswered. Discouragement has sunk a lot of opportunities for ministry. It is easy in this life to get discouraged. And then there is Charlie Riggs – “put me in over my head”.

Most of us pray for what we think we can handle. Most of us pray for God to bless what we are doing. Most of us look only to our horizon – what we can see. But I’m wondering what would happen if we started to pray for a larger horizon, a greater task (something beyond our capabilities), some that puts us in over our head?

Remember: God never asks us to do something that we can do!

Lord, put us in over our heads. Make our day a “sink or swim” day. And then Lord, come in and take over because we are going to need you to accomplish what you have asked us to do. 

1 comment:

  1. I was blessed to have helped Charlie in his time of need in the late 2006-2007. God dropped this gift into my life that was "over my head" without even asking Him. Thank you for remembering our friend. His walk in the Spirit permeated Billy Grahams ministry and gave it the much needed spiritual impact into countless lives.