Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tribute to L.E. Maxwell

L.E. Maxwell, founder and late President of Prairie Bible Institute (PBI) was original, colorful, very Godly and one who, like Daniel in his old age, possessed an extraordinary spirit (Daniel 6:1-23). Mr. Maxwell was always in a hurry for God but never rushed. He preached the deep truths of God's Word, but they were understandable and plain to ordinary men and women. He loved his students and we loved and honored him. Even though he worked faithfully in administrating the large PBI ministries, his first love was teaching the Word to his students in the classroom, preaching the Word in the pulpit, and challenging the church to take the Word to the masses of the world at missions conferences.

Some of the sayings of Mr. Maxwell were:

  • "The hardest thing in the world is to keep balanced."
  • "Faith and life always go together. Believe and behave!"
  • 'They have made fun of me all my life. When they quit doing it, I expect it will be because I am backslidden."
  • "He is great, and he alone, who serves a greatness not his own."
  • "No cross, no crown."
  • "A man wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package."
  • "If you lay up for rainy days, God will see to it that you get them."
  • 'The greatest mission is sub-mission."
  • "The Lord guides whom He governs."
  • "Hoping for nothing!"
  • "Bless the women out there who are doing a man's job."
  • "There is no fool like an old fool."
  • "Jesus didn't come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live."
  • "Never had the church so much influence over the world as when she had nothing to do with the world."
  • "We cannot live in the flesh and do the work of the spirit."
  • "Leadership (needed) in missions is not made by education, not won by promotion, but only by many prayers and confessions of sin, and heart-searchings and humblings and self-surrender before God and men."
 One winter when my wife, Margaret, was in her last year at PBI, rushing from one building to another because of the cold, she passed through one of the 'steam clouds' coming out a vent from a steam tunnel under the sidewalk. As she passed through it, she was suddenly face to face with Mr. Maxwell all bundled up and out on one of his walks. He jokingly grabbed Margaret by the shoulders and laughing said, "Are you running on your own steam?"

On a brief trip from the Philippines years ago I visited Three Hills several months before Mr. Maxwell's death. I asked permission of Mrs. Maxwell and Grandpa Bob Sinclair, who helped to care for Mr. Maxwell, for permission to visit him. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and needed constant care.

It was difficult for Mr. Maxwell to have visitors, but I was given permission to spend a short time with him. Late one night I had the great honor of sitting for nearly an hour with Mr. Maxwell, the great soldier for Christ, holding both his hands in mine and telling him how much he was loved and appreciated by many, many people around the world.

When it came time for him to retire, I helped him to his bed. I still remember the privilege of gently laying him down on his bed, his strong grip on my hand and his kiss on my cheek.

But what really stands out in my memory of our short time together is that even though he was unable to carry on a conversation, I saw excitement and tears of joy in his eyes as I told him story after story of his students being used around the world and how God was bringing multitudes of people to Himself!

Yes, he appreciated being loved, but he thrilled at the glory of God through missions!

  The extraordinary spirit of Mr. L.E. Maxwell was not only evident in his powerful preaching, his inductive Bible teaching, his zealous labor for God, and his dedication to family, but it was especially his Christlike, God-honoring life. He lived to train disciplined soldiers for Christ.

It was said of the great racehorse Man O'War: "Some horses led him at the first turn, some led him at the backstretch, a few led him at the far turn, but no horse ever led him in the homestretch." Some Christians run nobly at the start of the race, some do well halfway, but blessed is the man who makes a good finish. L.E. Maxwell served faithfully to the end! With the Apostle Paul he could say: I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course" (II Timothy 4:7).

Doug Nichols
PBI Graduate 1966

1 comment:

Larry Sharp said...

Great tribute Doug - good job of helping us remember and appreciate the privilege we all had to sit at his feet.

Larry Sharp