Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: Pulpit Phobia
By Deborah Caruso
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“Mattie, you’ve got a name for everything, do you have to call it that?”
“What else would you call it, Sam? You get yourself all worked up whenever you have to speak; you should be used to it by now. Why, just look at all of these notes you’ve made. How many highlighters did you go through for this sermon, anyway?” She said, turning the pages. “Facing Giants in Life, you should know all about that one.”
“I should. I’m sure there are not many ministers out there that go through this.” Sam remarked.
“You’ve always been somewhat shy.”
“I’ve never understood why God would want someone like me to preach his word. I’ll be fine as soon as I reach the podium. It’s before I get there, that I envision faces looking up at me, with the blank stares. Some of them may be sitting in the pews, but they’re definitely somewhere else. There’s Mr. Jamison, who is always nodding off, and why can’t Ms. Hutchins put her makeup on at home like everyone else? And you know I love babies just as much as the next person, but why won’t they take them to the nursery? And I never know when one of those cell phones is going to go off.”
“Relax, Sam. You know the majority of them are paying attention.” Mr. Jamison is 88 years old for crying out loud!” She said as she walked to his closet and pulled out a gray suit. “Will this suit you? Pardon the pun.” She laughed.
“That’ll suit me just fine.”
They soon arrived in front of the historic church. Looking up at the lofty, white steeple, Mattie said, “This is a beautiful place God has sent us to.
“Yes, it is.” Sam agreed.
The time had finally come. Sam’s heart was beating incredibly fast by now, the palms of his hands had begun sweating, and he had a big lump in his throat as he neared the wood structure that he would stand behind to give the message. Smiling warmly at the congregation, he placed his bible and notes down gently upon the podium, and then he heard.
“Tell them that I love them today, my son.” It was the still small voice of God.
“What about all my notes?”
“What about all my people?”
Sam felt God’s peace rest upon him as he begun to speak; not the message he had toiled over all week long, but the message God wanted his people to hear that day. “Good morning everyone, we’re going to be talking about God’s unfailing love.”
The altar was full, when he finished speaking. God knew what His people needed to hear in that moment in time.
Sam obeyed; many came.
The same day, a mid west family gather together for a Sunday dinner, and Jack, who had married into the family, and is the only Christian, is asked another hard question. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” With a rapidly beating heart, he answers the best he can.
Somewhere else, two friends are walking their dogs in a city park. The conversation leads to a difficult question, “Don’t all roads lead to God?”
In a café in France, “The bible was written so long ago, can we really trust it today?”
So it is all over the world, at any hour of the day, people are wondering about God, and seeking answers. Just as Sam rises above his fear to stand in the pulpit, we may have to overcome stage fright in order to step up as well. We may not be standing in an actual pulpit, or be called to preach as Sam, but we all have our own appointed pulpits in which we must stand and speak about our God to others. People have questions about God, and many of them never go to church. Realizing that it’s not a popular thing in this day and age to speak up for our God, we can all be prone to pulpit phobia. But we can be confident knowing, that as we’re speaking to others about our God, His Spirit will be resting upon us. And like Sam it may not go as we have planned.
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