Since I answered God's call to ministry over 20 years ago, I never cease to be amazed at how God works in me and through me. I've never had a "superman" sensation, where I felt as though I personally had the strength or the skill to perform the tasks laid out before me as a pastor, preacher and even teacher. Quite the opposite. I am not an imposing figure. I do not have what I would consider a powerful preaching voice, nor do would I consider myself "handsome in the pulpit." Indeed, I constantly battle my weight, and must work on my sermon delivery so that it would at least be intelligible to the listener. At times, I am very discouraged by my lack of discipline in the pulpit and the corresponding lack luster delivery. There have been many times where I thought I should have remained in the music field, where I continue to have success! So, I stand in awe of the men I have met who had "the voice", "the skills" or "the imposing personality" who fit the standard paradigm for a successful preacher. I continue to learn from their personal study habits, daily routines and delivery mannerisms. Yet, I am me. My prayers before each sermon always have been, "please use your servant and this message to bring glory to yourself and expand the boundaries of your kingdom."
Then there are Sundays like yesterday. I have a cold. I am fighting laryngitis. I am tired. I am bloated by too much rich Christmas food and I am personally discouraged by my Christmas schedule of events. All of the "signs" suggested that I shouldn't preach. Nevertheless, something in my heart said to persevere and so I did. I preached twice this past Sunday, until I had no voice left and was exhausted. But God was good when I was not. The 'Word' went out as it has for thousands of years and God used it, in spite of this vessel.
What do I constantly learn from lessons like these? I have learned that its not about skill, talent, voice or education. It is first and foremost about being "yielded" to God. Life becomes one giant act of worship - everything you do, every word you speak, every moment of service to the Triune God makes a difference if the person is yielded in humility to the voice of the Master. God does not honor separations between "my home life" and "my ministry." Life must be lived authentically and transparently before God. God expects us to live and speak the truth, then He will do the rest. If I'm having issues with my wife or problems with my children; or if I'm having ego issues - then God lifts his hand ever so slightly and turns me around to face those issues before I get back to the task of ministry. God then uses me as He wills - preaching, teaching, pastoral care, leadership - it really doesn't matter. What matters is having a heart absolutely yielded to God.