Approaching the Pulpit

I have just today found I’ve been accepted to Seminary. Alright. Had to get that good news out. The blogs will still continue though. However, the story that I am sharing is from before this time. I have been speaking to my church about my high hopes of Seminary and wanting to preach one more time before I left town.

An odd feeling comes over someone then and I am still working through this. I have had this come to bear more on my own life as somehow, humility has come up in my conversations and my friends on here have identified me as humble, which I find absolutely shocking. I don’t see myself as humble, so all of this has given me much to think about.

I looked at the pulpit after mentioning my request and thought. I really felt quite unworthy to enter the pulpit. I really saw what an honor it was. You’re up there giving the message that the people often believe is practically from God himself. Many people believe that their preacher is practically infallable and don’t digest what he said. I realize that while I may examine and question some things my preacher says, a lot of people sadly don’t. I have to take that into account.

A lot of people believe in the calling of God. I don’t. However, I do believe in the seriousness of the task. I find a side in Scripture we don’t usually speak of. I find the desire to be a success and a desire to be a teacher. I don’t see anything wrong in that. I don’t think we should set out to be failures.

This is the area of difficulty in many ways. We should want to be good in what we do and desire a good name, but we should do it for a greater glory, and sometimes that is hard and I hope I do that. I know my friends would say that my hope to seek his glory first would indicate my character well. It would be good for me if I believed all about me that they do. I am incredibly thankful for my friends in that regard.

It is all about simply trying to see onesself as one really is. I think of the prayer of Soren Kierkegaard where he said “With your help Lord, I will now become myself.” That is where I think humility and pride lie. Humility is seeing onesself as one is. It is not humble to lower yourself. It is prideful though to exert yourself as what you are not.

So that is the goal. We are to see ourselves as we are and that is the way that God sees us. God has no false beliefs about us, but we often have false beliefs about us. God’s goal is also to help us become ourselves, and that is who we are in Christ. We are to take on his identity more and more every day. We are to be shaped to be more like him. That’s hard to hear really. I want to resist that a lot. There is a part of me that cries out still against the hands of the potter.

So then I think about the pulpit again. I think that people do say I have strengths and ideas to share and such. However, I still see myself as unworthy. I don’t think that’s it though. I think that’s what makes it a gift. I don’t deserve that gift. If I did, it wouldn’t be a gift. Getting to spread the gospel though is a gift. It’s a great gift. We are invited to be co-laborers with Christ, and that is an honor.

I’m glad to be in the pulpit. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. I love public speaking. I have no hesitancy about being before the crowd. At the same time though, I approach it with some fear and trembling. I like to hear what people say afterwards, but I pray they are learning as well and applying.

The pulpit is a great place and it’s also a gift. Like any gift from any friend, it is to be treasured but treated with respect.

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