Monday, July 2, 2012

God's Instruments

Last week as I traveled to Huntingdon, TN, I stopped at a tiny little church house on Highway 22. Memories kept me from passing without stopping. It was over 100 degrees outside, and I was dressed for preaching (tie and all), but I got out of my car and went up to the front door of the building. It was 5 p.m. and nobody was there, as I expected. I removed a business card from my wallet. On the back I wrote this note and I attached it to the door:

"Thank you for helping me get started. You will never know how much you helped me. I would love to come and preach here again sometime. God bless all of you..."

I am not sure those were the exact words (verbatim), but that is pretty close.

When I came to Tennesse in the fall of 1996, I came to preach the gospel. I arrived at FHU in Henderson with that sole purpose. I had done some preaching off and on since I was 16, but now it was time to get serious about it. So I foresook all and fled. There was one thing above all that I needed most...someone to receive me.

After a few months of classes I began asking around to see if there were any churches that would let somebody like me preach: someone very green who was learning. My friend, Ben Jones, had been substitute preaching some for another friend, Tim Parrish, at the Holladay Chapel congregation. In the early spring of 1997, I preached my first sermon east of California for the Holladay Chapel church of Christ.

The first sermon my wife ever heard me preach was on Easter, 1997, at the Holladay Chapel church. We went back to Jackson, TN after services and ate at O' Charley's. We had just begun dating at that time. I took a regular preaching appointment not long afterwards at the Hickory Plains church on Highway 424. After a few months there I went on to Christian Chapel near Humboldt, TN - and the rest, as they say, is history. But I will never forget all of the little congregations who gave this young man an opportunity. For me, they were God's instruments to help me become a preacher of the gospel of Christ.

It is my firm belief, that what God has called us to through His word is ministry. For some, this means the public proclamation of the word of God. For others, it means something else. But I have determined that ministry is about allowing God to use you as His instrument. It is never and will never be about you. It is first about loving and pleasing God. Secondly, it is about helping others do the same.

There is nothing more comforting than knowing one's purpose. Our purpose is not as complicated as we think. Our purpose is to be used as instruments of God.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ St. Francis of Assisi - 13th century


  1. Beautiful!

  2. The congregation in Sweetwater, TN graciously allowed me to preach for them when I was attending ETSPM. There are many good brethren in many good churches who are doing much good.