This past Sunday I had the opportunity to speak. My portion of Scripture was 1 Cor 16.5-24. This chunk is Paul’s closing statements to the church in Corinth. It’s kind of a hard type of text to preach from because Paul uses a lot of short ideas, expresses greetings and prayers, and stuff like that. It’s hard to have a big idea so I was a little nervous about how this whole thing was going to go over.
In verse 9 Paul says: ” . . . a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”
I keyed in on this verse for a time talking about how when you are called to something that does not mean it’s going to be easy. I then followed my wife’s advice and talked about my youth ministry experience and the opposition that we experienced when we came on staff at Creekside Church. This is not something that I have ever really talked about openly with the congregation.
These kinds of experiences are a challenge for me to talk about publicly because I don’t really want to deal with people feeling sorry for me. But It was a very authentic time in the sermon. And I think it helped people understand me better, but to also understand that their calling may be challenging and that’s ok. Don’t bail.
The point of this whole post is really just to realize that people want the real thing. And if you can embrace who you are, your story, and what God’s called you to do, people will respect that. But if you try to cover up who you really are and put on a show for people, that’s exhausting and people will find you out.
Be the real deal. Be authentic. Tell the truth.
I have had more responses to this sermon and my story than almost any other sermon. God honors vulnerability. And God can use your vulnerability to encourage others with their struggles.