I’m not a good man - but I’m getting ahead of myself.
It’s been a good day in the life of a preacher. Started a Gospel Meeting in the morning, preached three times before 1pm, had a good run this afternoon, got to tour our beautiful new mess hall at Maywood Christian Camp this evening, enjoyed hearing a fellow minister of the Gospel tonight and then got to spend some time with some dear old friends going through grief. Oh, the joyous, full, hectic life of a preacher!
As I listened and learned and was inspired and encouraged by my brother tonight my mind went back to years ago. I had preached from that pulpit he was standing in hundreds of times. My mind went back to when I preached regularly there and we would have guest speakers - and we had some good ones. I can remember rarely enjoying them. Honestly. I was so jealous of that pulpit that when someone else would stand in it - anyone - I felt they were in “my territory” and to be honest (remember, I’m not a good man), I would fear that those listening would enjoy, like more and enjoy my preaching less (see, I warned you). Some of it was a lack of confidence in my own abilities but some of it was un-pure jealousy. And ungodly jealousy never leads to good. As a result I could not encourage others to listen as I should have and I could not encourage the fellow preacher as I could have.
As time has gone by I’ve repented and now see clearly that different people are touched by different styles, personalities, approaches to the text and understand that the Gospel news is bigger than any one of us and all of us are needed as faithful ministers of God’s Good Message.
No, I’m not a good man - but thanks to the grace of God, the graciousness of God’s People and the gentleness of those who have influenced my soul I’m a better man than I used to be. As I was thinking of this I thought this and it is my prayer for you - I pray that your being a minister of God’s Good News is making you a better person. And I pray that all of us in ministry will encourage each other and be a community of great strength for the good of souls!