“His Word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot” ~Jeremiah 20:9
Sunday was torture. The past two Sundays, in fact, have been impossibly difficult for me. For two Resurrection Days in a row I have found myself sitting near the front of the worship center, surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ — my church; my church family! — and listening to someone else preach the sermon.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to Jerry Taylor, the esteemed ACU professor who’s preaching here at Central every Sunday between now and when I start on September 18. I love listening to Jerry Taylor. Jerry’s powerful, authoritative, smooooooooth delivery combined with his expert’s grasp of the Scriptures fueled by the energy of God’s Holy Spirit makes for just about the best preaching anybody could ever hope to hear. I could listen to Jerry for hours. For days.
It’s not at all like what John Bailey says about sitting through some sermons: If I’m going to listen to mediocre preaching, I’d rather be the one doing it.
That’s not it at all. It’s that this is my church and these are my brothers and sisters and I’m their preacher! I’m the preacher here. And I’m supposed to be preaching.
God has given me things to say. Our Father has opened my eyes and my heart to truths in his Holy Word that must be revealed, that must be proclaimed by me. God has brought me here, he has pushed me here, to speak his will and to proclaim his purpose. He’s led me here to comfort and console, to provoke and challenge and upset, to exhort and encourage from his all-sufficient Scriptures.
Construction workers dig holes. Linebackers make tackles. Texans say “y’all.” And preachers preach.
I was made to preach. Called to preach. Equipped and empowered to preach.
I was completely on board with the initial time line that had us moving to Amarillo on August 12, getting unpacked and settled in, registering the kids for school, getting my study set up, and getting to know people before I dove into the preaching. It sounded great. Time to refresh. Time to rejuvenate. Time to meditate and revive, to get my head right with God and his Word. Time to pray. Time to worship with my new church family. Just worship. Time to meet people, to get to know my staff, to form a few relationships before attempting to speak to them a word from our God. What a gracious gesture on behalf of Central’s shepherds. What a nice big-picture view of our partnership together. What a clear indication of their love for and appreciation for their new minister. Yes. Thank you. Wow. I really appreciate it. Yes, it’s been perfect. Honestly, it’s been great.
Until last Sunday. And again yesterday.
God, grant me patience. I’m weary of holding it in.