As many of you are aware, Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief, died of a heart attack on June 13, 2008, at the age of 58.
As someone who follows politics a great deal, I found myself quite saddened by this loss. Russert brought such dignity and class to this area. I learned a great deal from him without really being aware of it. I would like to include some quick thoughts on Russert’s legacy that I believe could be some great lessons for expositors.
- Family was a priority. His love for his dad and his son shone through. In 1994, the Buffalo Bills (an American football team for all you internationals) had made it to their fourth consecutive Super Bowl. They had lost the previous three, so he ended the newscast with his dad being with him and a plea to God for him to give the Bills a win. Tom Brokaw chastised him: “Oh, you Irish Catholics… you can’t pray on TV.” Russert just smiled. When the Bills eventually lost 30-13, Brokaw shouted over to Russert, “I guess God’s a Southern Baptist!” That one slice of his life showed how he loved his family and his hometown. Russert wrote a book about his dad entitled, “Big Russ and Me” as a tribute to his dad. Many commented that is seemed only fitting that he died on Father’s Day weekend.
- Preparation was a must. To a person, his fellow journalists lauded him for his preparation. He always had the great question as well as the great follow-up question which went to the heart of the real issue and was the real news. I took note here. I find it a great compliment when congregants and fellow pastrs note how prepared a preacher seems. Nothing is a substitute for preparation. Expositors should/must know this. Never come before your people unless you have come before God and His Word. It will show.
- Congeniality at its best. Russert always struck me as fair in dealing with politicians from any party. Some newscasters show their true colors. Should we be modeling James 2:1 in how we deal with others?
Like I said, just a short word. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Tim’s family and to the news division at NBC News. The presidential election coverage will not be the same.