My first attempt at preaching was, well let’s just say I don’t think anyone listening to it would have imagined me becoming a preacher. Honestly I’m not sure anyone even knew what I was talking about let alone what I was trying to say on the topic. I have always considered that effort an epic fail. But I’ve re-evaluated that moment as I’ve considered what God views as success.
I was in grade 12 and our youth group was leading the Sunday evening service. I’m not sure what he was thinking but our Youth Pastor tagged me to preach. Maybe it was because I was a pastor’s kid and he thought it would be in my genes or something. That fact contributed to a fatal mistake I made. Since dad preached from point form notes that must be the way to do it.
I got up in front of the church and looked at my notes and none of it made any sense to me. Apparently it didn’t make much sense to anyone else either because there were a lot of confused frowns from people desperately trying to follow what I was trying to say. Those poor dear people, I could see them straining for me to succeed. I think they worked as hard at making some sense of my tangled mess as I was at trying to untangle it. I didn’t even really end the sermon; it was more like I just quit talking and sat down.
Stu Krogman, from CrossRoads Church has a beautiful understanding of success from God’s perspective. After a particular ministry that had felt somewhat less than stellar he asked God whether it had been successful and God responded with two questions: Were you willing? Were you submissive?
As I reflect on my mangled message in light of those questions I come to a different assessment of the result. Was I willing to serve God in the capacity he directed me to? Certainly. Was I submitted to his Spirit leading and guiding? To the best of my understanding at the time, yes. Therefore despite the apparent results, I am at peace with what God accomplished through that experience. Of course preparation and hard work are important, but I see those encompassed within these two questions.
So has your day been successful? Have you been willing to serve God in all you do? Have you been submissive to him in the doing? Then hear your Father say “Well done my child. I’m proud of you.”