I love to preach and teach the Word of God. It’s just something I enjoy doing and I generally get good feedback from my class or from the congregation. I’m not pushy about it. I’ve never floated a ‘resume’ or anything like that, I’ve just taken the opportunities as they’ve come my way. It is always a blessing at least and I always learn more than my class.
One time I remember getting a call on Saturday night shortly after I was married, the phone rang and it was the teacher of a preaching class I was taking at the time. A pastor had been burned in a fire “And they are starting they’re revival tomorrow…do you think…” Yeah I said, of course. My wife, lovely thing that she is, took her mother who was in for a visit and said “We wanted to go shopping anyway, go ahead and study.” And study I did.
Now for the pastor reading this, you may recall a time when you thought you knew more than you did and relied on memory for most of your bible references. You may remember that first few sermons you preached and getting ready for them was a long process—or not. My pastor at the time said, “Well, I’ve been doing this awhile so it doesn’t take me as long to get ready. Most of my stuff is already up there,” pointing to his gray head—he was a fine preacher and pastor too.
Our arrival at that church is a miracle in and of itself and I was a little rattled and a little hot. I’d worn my only suit—a cool double-breasted job and when I see pictures now I’m sure I look like a gangster. So I stepped into the pulpit and began.
My text was the piece we are going to start with on Monday—I’ll probably post that tomorrow. The Triumphal Entry…and I gave my reference. I ignored a few puzzled looks and pushed on to the end of my sermon and at the end, stepped down as arranged so that the chairman of deacons could do the alter call.
I thought I had done pretty well and everyone at the ‘shake and howdy’ afterwards said so I was slightly full of myself. When we got to the car I was all grins but my wife, God love her, said, “The preaching was fine except you gave a reference for a passage on divorce and you played with your buttons the whole time—like they were volume control knobs.”
So I got a double lesson on handling the Word of God carefully and humility. At the time preaching was the most important thing in my life and a schedule with Sundays and Wednesday’s packed full was what I wanted most.
But life’s funny and it doesn’t always work like you think it will. God moves his children where they wouldn’t ordinarily go for his glory and we ended up in a place where I was unknown and unheard. I haven’t preached since except for the odd devotional and occasionally a VBS opener—but I’ve got my tools ready. I’ve taught a lot of Sunday School since then. I’ve done a lot more study and kept my tools sharp. I never know when I’ll get a chance to preach or teach.