I once listened to a guest speaker at our church who suffered from a serious speech impediment. He told about many of the experiences he had endured simply because of his “problem”. The obvious target of bullies, his was a sad, frightening life. So he decided to become a preacher and speak publicly.
What? Why would such an unmistakable handicap entice anyone to make a public spectacle of himself as a preacher? The common response to a life of ridicule would be to distance yourself as far as possible from the chance of being laughed at. Right? Even Moses told God he was too slow of speech to talk things over with Pharaoh so he let his brother, Aaron, do the talking.
The preacher in question, though, had a different way of looking at his choice. He asked himself a few pointed questions and then made his decision to preach. Did he truly believe God had called him to preach? Yes. Was the message he wanted to take to the world valid? Yes. Would people listen to a stammering, cleff-lipped ego-maniac that thought he could preach? No, probably not. So....
His conclusion was that the mandate was valid, the message was valid and only the method was faulty. Perhaps God would heal him instantly if he would just open his mouth the first time. The time came for his first message to be delivered at a small church just down the street from his own home church. He stood behind the pulpit and spoke his first words: “F-f-f-olks, by dame as Sharrolly.” Okay, he thought, this would be a good time to instantly heal me, Lord.
But he wasn’t. He had to decide right then and there whether to turn beet red and leave or stay and preach what God had put on his heart. He decided to stay. By the end of the service several people responded to a heartfelt alter call and this young preacher learned why God had called him to preach. Because of his slurred speech pattern, he found that people were hanging on every word he spoke just to understand him... and what could be more effective than a preacher that is UNDERSTOOD?
Over the years he learned to talk slowly so even more of his words would be understood. Before each message began he would carefully explain his speech problem and then encourage the people to listen because the message was that important.
In my years as a preacher/teacher I have seen a lot (actually, far too many) people who had a lot to offer in God’s service but never did anything with their talent. There is ALWAYS a valid reason tied to the decision to “let someone else do the job” but I’ve always wondered what would have happened if they actually DID do what God had called them to do? I believe miracles would have happened.
There is no shortage of things that need to be done in the church you attend... whether it is a mega-church or a small store-front group of 5 people. Nothing gets done if someone doesn’t step up to do it. Usually, it is the over-worked pastor or one of two or three over-worked board members who are expected to do the work. What is needed, though, is a consistent willingness for you to do what YOU can do to help.
Okay, I just took your breath away because you think I am trying to rope you into more work than you want to commit to. I am not doing that at all.
Think of this, though. Do you have a talent or something you ENJOY doing? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that thing to the glory of God by doing it for your church? This is probably an over-simplified suggestion, but, what would happen if you told your pastor what you like to do and your pastor says, “Oh, my, we have been needing someone who could do that!”
What kind of talents are needed to get God’s work done? Again, a simple suggestion... how about ANY TALENT YOU HAVE GOT?
Fixing things... artwork... talking on the phone... visiting people... the list is endless. And the list is valid. Every church has a need for people to step up and use the talents God has given each of us, no matter how insufficient those talents may seem to you. If you make yourself available God will place you in a position that will fit right into His own plan.
One more tidbit of advice: don’t wait for the church to ask you to help. Offer your help and then see what happens. It will amaze you to see how many things you can do to advance God’s work.
Here’s something you could consider, if your church has an over-abundance of help. This newspaper is in dire need of people who want to help get the Gospel out to the world. We need people with far more talents and abilities than what is presently doing the work. The only goal of this paper is to keep God high and lifted up and keep people informed about the GOOD things of God.
So, if your church doesn’t need you (but, believe me, they do) you could always consider spending a little time doing what you never thought you would do. Be a newspaper artist, or distribution specialist, or writer. Or be anything God has given you a talent to do. You will be thrilled at how effectively God can use your talent... if you are only available.