Serving an international
Vol. 10 No. 1 January 2008
Why did I begin to preach? Was it because I am especially gifted with an excellent speaking voice? The apostle Paul, admittedly the greatest Gospel preacher ever, did not have perfect sermon delivery (1 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10; 11:6), and neither have I ever. (Many might “Amen” that--and one elder felt compelled to voice to me that I’m “not much of a preacher.”)
I did not begin preaching because I have superior understanding of the Bible. Despite often being the recipient of divine revelation (Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3), the apostle Paul both studied Scripture (2 Timothy 4:13) and instructed others to study Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15).
I did not begin preaching because I envisioned preaching as a route by which to become independently wealthy. Though Gospel preachers deserve financial support (1 Corinthians 9:4-14; Galatians 6:6), Gospel preachers resign themselves to make do for the cause of Christ when they are inadequately supported (Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:8). Every Gospel preacher knows there is much truth to the modern proverb: “The pay isn’t much, but the retirement is out of this world.”
Why, then, did I begin to preach? I suspect I began to preach for precisely the same reason most other Gospel preachers have devoted their lives to the ministry. We began to preach because we can, and therefore, we ought to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). For us, preaching is obligatory--because we can (1 Corinthians 9:16).
No one I know, though, purports that every man, for instance, has to be a Gospel preacher (1 Corinthians 12:27-31; Romans 12:4). Yet, our Lord’s Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) teaches in principle that each child of God needs to exercise himself or herself as fully as possible in Christian service--because he can (James 4:17; Titus 2:14). Borrowing from a world famous 20th century statement, ‘Ask not what our Lord can do for you, but rather ask what can I (or ought I to) do for the cause of Christ?’ Let each of us conclude: “If I can serve the Lord in a certain capacity, then, I ought to serve the Lord in that way.