This past weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at a Camp-meeting in the Eastern Cape (Queenstown), in South Africa. It was a total of 5 sermons that I preached, including a presentation on Christian Lifestyle. It was a total of four hours that I spoke for on Sabbath. I was quite exhausted. On Sunday I had to deliver the farewell message and had the opportunity to listen to a colleague of mine preach for the morning manna. While listening to him, I thought to myself that it would be perfect if I could link my message with his, to let my message be an extension of his message from the morning. I had already preached a message similar to his many months ago and I could repeat it without much effort. It was a perfect plan.
But when I was about to stand behind the pulpit, I did not preach what I thought was best but preached a message that I was impressed with earlier.
I was anxious to drive back home at the end of the sermon.
As I pulled out of the ‘parking area’ of the camp-meeting venue, I was stopped by a woman who introduced herself as a Shepherdess. I have great respect for Shepherdesses. She said: “Pastor, do you know that you saved a soul today?”
I replied: “really!”
“Yes,” she replied, “I have invited a young woman who was determined to -end her life this weekend but I asked her to postpone and attend this camp-meeting today. Your message saved her soul today. Thank you.”
I simply replied: “Praise the Lord!”
The next few moments, I did not have the strength to turn my radio or cell-phone on. I just kept on the road with tears in my eyes. What a privilege to be used by God to save a soul. When I had wanted not to preach the message that I did, it was to accommodate me and “I” was going to preach.
It was yesterday, I was reminded that the Preacher is the voice of God, and should not take his calling lightly.
I am sharing this experience to encourage you to be faithful in your calling to preach the gospel. You may never know, who the Lord has arranged to HIM that day. Let them hear His voice rather than ours. After all, if they meet us and forget us, they lose nothing but if they meet Jesus and forget Him, they lose everything. Fellow preachers, this recent experience of mine made me realize that as a preacher, I am the nail on which the picture of Christ should hang. After all, Jesus said: ” … If I be lifted up …”
and the greatest testimony is a life lived for Jesus…
Copyright by Dr. Paul Charles, July 2006, www.paulinperson.com