Last night I completed the course “Called to Preach” as part of my journey to become a Certified Lay Minister. I gave my first sermon. I wanted it to be moving, inspirational, challenging the listeners to a closer walk with God. Going into the class, I thought I had a chance at doing just that but the reality… not so much. As the last one to speak, I listened to my classmates doing it. They shared poignant personal stories. They shared insightful theology as they examined the scriptures. Not everyone was perfect, to be sure but most were quite moving.
Then it came to my turn. I was so nervous I rushed turning a 5 minute sermon into a 3 ½ minute one. (I’m guessing at that but I went through it so quickly when I got to the closing prayer I thought I’d missed a page or two.) I realized my profound insight was more simplistic than deep, my emphases repetitive and tedious.
Now, I know my friends reading this are thinking I’m being too hard on myself, and I thank you for that but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. My point is this: I don’t have to be some incredible orator to be used by God. I can’t know what was going on in my classmates’ minds. Maybe one word stuck in their head and they thought for a moment, “Yes!” Honestly, maybe my missteps tonight offered encouragement to one of them. Maybe they’d been doubting themselves and I made them realize they’re gifted!!! I can’t know how I WAS used by God tonight but I do know I WILL be used by God.
I’m on a path to serve God. Doors are opening that were sealed shut before. The journey to this place was long and arduous but each step was meaningful and gave me the tools I need for the steps to follow. I don’t need to worry about tonight because my calling is not about tonight. It’s about tomorrow and the next day and the one after that. It’s not about my ego or what I think happened. It’s about God’s Word being preached from the heart. I did my best. I know that. The rest is in God’s hands.