It wasn’t the hottest sermon I had ever preached, but it was certainly the hottest building I had ever preached in. I was scheduled to preach to a group of eager youngsters at a youth summer camp, but I had no idea that obstacles were also on the schedule. In the middle of the week, the air conditioning kicked off in the chapel, elevating the indoor temperature to about 90°. When it was my time to preach, I couldn’t concentrate. I was saturated in perspiration, and the students were straining to stay cool. To make matters worse, not one student came to the altar at the end of the service.
Later that evening, a student named Alex remarked, “Brother Brandon, I’m gonna be honest with you—and no offense—but I didn’t hear a single word you said.” Jeez! Talk about adding insult to injury! However, Alex repented of his sins in that very hour, and explained to me that God was speaking so loudly to him during my sermon that he couldn’t hear me at all! To this day, that was the best post-sermon compliment I have ever received.
Paul the apostle was right—the power to save souls rests not in the messenger, but in the message:
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
God will use you despite your imperfections and inadequacies. Preach to the unsaved even when you are nervous or uncertain. Disciple the hungry souls under your care even when your efforts appear fruitless. Encourage the despondent even when you feel that your words won’t make a difference. Pray for the wayward even when it feels like your prayers go no higher than the ceiling.
Do not rely on your skills or speaking abilities; instead, rely on God’s strength and His promise to speak through you (Matthew 10:20). Do not confide in your own intelligence or wisdom; rather, trust in the Lord’s incomprehensible power to convert souls (Romans 1:16). Do not give up if you see no success when doing the work of the Lord—depend on the sufficiency of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Don’t forsake doing good if you think you’re not any good at doing good! D.L. Moody once said, “If you don’t go to work for the Lord because you’re afraid of making mistakes, you will probably make the greatest mistake of your life—that of doing nothing.”
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).