In Need of Forgiveness
October 12, 2013
Posted by on
I recently spoke at a gathering where funds were being raised for a local mission. There were eight or so of us pastors who were to give a two-minute inspirational message between songs. I soon discovered that most of the pastors were from traditions where preaching is very emotional and energetic.
The first speaker was Lutheran, so she was more my style. I was number seven, with five more before me and one after me. By preacher number four, I knew that my preaching would be, shall we say, very, very low-key by comparison. Each of them really worked up a sweat when they were preaching. It seemed like a preach-a-thon. Diann later told me that if she had been me she would have gotten up and said, “Excuse me; I don’t feel well, and I need to leave.”
Then it was my turn, and I spoke. I wanted to stop mid-sentence and remind the audience, “I really am excited, even though it doesn’t appear that way.” With six down and one to go, I felt like I was the intermission!
The next morning on my prayer walk, I reflected on the evening. I got to thinking that they were all trying to outdo each other and that I was glad I was just being myself. Then the parable of Jesus came to mind where a Pharisee and a tax collector were praying. The Pharisee prayed that he was glad that he wasn’t like the others, especially the tax collector. I got the message: I had no right to judge the motives of those other pastors. Maybe they weren’t trying to outdo each other; maybe it was just the way they preach. I was thinking like the Pharisee, and I had to ask the Lord to forgive me. I’m not sure that my own motive was all that pure by the time I got into the pulpit, trying to show them I could deliver a message without breaking into a sweat!
We’re continually in need of God’s gracious forgiveness! We need Christ and His cross. Let’s go to the cross — once and for all, and time and time again!
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)