Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: The Sunday Sermon
By Esther Phillips
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I was sitting behind the podium so I couldn’t see everyone in the congregation. I looked out every once in awhile and I didn’t see my boss so I was feeling a little more comfortable thinking he probably wasn’t coming. After all, the trip out from Houston to my home town and church was about 25 miles. Then just before time for me to stand up and speak, I saw Joel and his wife come in. They took a seat near the back of the church.
The last hymn ended and it was time for the sermon. I took a deep breath and stepped up to the podium. After my initial nervous jitters, I settled in and gave my sermon. The rest of the church service was pretty much a blur for me. After it was over, I went to the back of the church so I could greet those who had come that morning. Of course, that included Joel and his wife. They hung around for a little bit and Joel said, “I’m so glad we came. That was an interesting talk you gave.” I thanked him and his wife for coming and they left.
I arrived at work on Monday morning and Joel was already there. That was really rare because he went for a run every morning and practically always arrived an hour or so after I did. He said, “I didn’t do my run this morning because I wanted to be here when you got here. I’ll go to the gym later in the day instead.”
After I settled in and got things started, he came into my office and sat down. He said he wanted to talk about my sermon the day before. He reiterated how much he and his wife enjoyed being in our church and listening to me preach. He said the sermon was outstanding and that he had been thinking about what I had said ever since they left to go back home.
He asked, “Have you considered doing preaching as a full time job?” No greater compliment could he have given me. I am reminded of the great commission from Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
While I haven’t taken up preaching as my vocation, I teach a Sunday School class and do calling on people who are having health difficulties. Not all are called to preach, but all can do something.
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