I’d like to tell you all a 2 Corinthians 12:10 story. It starts with my failure and ends with God’s goodness.
This past Sunday I preached again in church. My message was taken from John chapter 6 and dealt with the idea of putting the spiritual ahead of the material, finishing up with Jesus “will you also leave me” and Peter’s resounding reply—”to whom shall we go, you have the word of life.” These verses hold particular significance in my life (thanks to my father) and so I prepared a message that was both near to my heart and meaningful for today’s church.
Then I got up and bombed it. I stumbled over my words. I forgot my transitions in mid-sentence. I didn’t explain some important distinctions and left out several key points. If you’ve ever preached before, you may know what I mean when I say I was standing outside myself being critical. The clock reached 12 and I remembered that this was our evangelism emphasis Sunday and I hadn’t said a word about the gospel. So I transitioned to a salvation call like shifting from fifth to second and ended with a show of hands, of which there were none.
I sat down with a strange mix of feelings—disappointed and upset. I responded smugly to all those who came up and congratulated me. I must not have prayed enough, must not have prepared enough.
A friend from church (Mike Randall) told me the sermon was up on the web and I said, rather curtly, that I certainly wasn’t linking to it from my blog. “It was that bad?” he asked. I laughed.
So this morning I get a call from the pastor. My wife actually takes it; I’m shaving. Seems as though someone had filled out a visitor card and had requested information about salvation. So Tuesday evening some people from the church to talk with him, and I quote: “We walked in, and it was like the Phillipian jailer: What must I do to be saved?” The angels rejoiced as a new member was added to God’s family, even as I sat sulking about my failure.
And so I say once again, “Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Thank you, God.
- To Whom Shall We Go – http://www.oxfordvalleychapel.org/Sermons/121105.wma