My tribute to Zig Ziglar – “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I only saw Zig Ziglar once in person. The memory of that day has not faded one bit in my mind. It was November, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio and Zig was one of several presenters at a day-long seminar. There were many high profile speakers on that stage, all of whom were excellent. But the only message I remember in detail from that day is Zig’s. There were probably 10,000 people in the arena, but Zig had a way of making you feel like you were the only one in the room. I usually take copious notes at these seminars, but on that day I took nary a one. I just sat and listened to Zig Ziglar talk… directly to me. Several months prior to this event, Zig had taken a bad fall down a flight of stairs in his home. He suffered a brain injury, which left him with permanent short-term memory loss. As a result, Zig was prone to repeating things he had said just moments earlier. NULL
On the stage with Zig that day was his daughter, Julie Ziglar Norman. She explained that her father, despite his injury and his resulting limitations, was determined to continue his public speaking. So, Julie had taken to appearing with him. His presentations were now done interview style, with Julie asking him questions. If Zig started to repeat himself, Julie would alert him by putting her hand on his shoulder. This happened more than once during their talk, with Zig using each opportunity to poke fun at himself. “It was so good, I thought it was worth repeating,” he said in one such instance. As I sat there, I thought about what was unfolding in front of me. Here was an American icon, who despite no longer having his full faculties was appearing in front of thousands, telling them not to give up on their dream. How many larger-than-life personalities would do such a thing and risk their public image? Who wants to be remembered this way?
But that wasn’t Zig. He embraced the struggle; he lived life on life’s terms. If his circumstance could minister to another human being, you had better believe Zig would be there.
That day I watched a father and daughter interact lovingly on stage. I saw a man who would not let vanity or ego or public persona stand in the way of delivering the message of hope he had been sharing for decades. It was one of the most endearing things I have ever witnessed. I could cite dozens of Zig’s lessons on life that have made an impact on me. One that I heard him repeat often, particularly late in his career, was this: “I’m not gonna ease up, let up, give up or shut up…until I’m taken up!” Perhaps none of his famous quotes more aptly defined him. Zig Ziglar had an immutable spirit, one that we would all do well to emulate. But, I also know that Zig was not just speaking of his earthly spirit. He was speaking of his eternal spirit. If you listened to Zig for more than a few minutes, you were certain to hear about Jesus. He was very overt with his Christian faith, and on that subject he did not ease up, let up, give up or shut up… until he was taken up. Through him, many experienced the love of Christ. It was Zig Ziglar’s most important message, a message he carried in loving service to his Savior. And to that I say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”