Monday, November 05, 2007

It's all Greek to me

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Acts 22, 23, 24

Acts 21:37-22:1 (NIV)

37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?” “Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?” 39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.” 40 Having received the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic: 1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” 2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

Good morning!

Sometimes I wonder if I’m speaking the right language. Have you ever tried to say something important, but all that comes out of your mouth is Greek? Unfortunately, I’ve had this experience on numerous occasions and it can be very, very frustrating. Have you ever tried to explain and reason with a stubborn, strong-willed child, and they look at you with this crazy, glazed over stare, like you are speaking in tongues? What happens to our communicative skills when we have something important to say, but it feels like we’re preaching into thin air?

Yesterday, as I sat in the Terry Teykl prayer seminar at Woods Chapel Church in Lees Summit, Missouri, I listened intently as the pastor shared a personal story about a clergy friend who had traveled to Mexico to preach the Gospel. He did not speak their language, and had engaged the services of an interpreter to help him deliver the message in Spanish. Due to some miscommunication, the interpreter did not show up. When it came time for the pastor to deliver the Word, he prayed and asked the Lord for divine intervention. As the pastor began to speak, the words came out of him in Spanish! Those who came to hear understood the message, and many gave their hearts to the Lord that day. This pastor had no formal training in Spanish. He knew the Lord had given him the right word, in the right language, at just the right moment, and because He trusted God completely on the delivery, the people heard and responded.

What kind of faith does it take to trust God completely? I took a road trip this weekend. The prayer conference is important to me, because I knew Pastor Teykl had been given an important message to deliver, as he continually responds to God’s call to “build the church in prayer.” Sunday morning, as my friend Laura Beth and I were having breakfast, we saw Pastor Teykl emerge from his room for a cup of coffee. I had seen this road weary look before. I’ve seen it on my husband’s face many times. Honestly, the pastor looked like he had been hit by a truck. He was dog tired. Pastor Teykl travels every week, sharing and teaching people how to connect with God in prayer. It is his commission, his passion, and his purpose for living. When we sit in church on Sunday mornings and hear a sermon, we may not see the frailty of the person behind the pulpit. They are human beings, just like you and I. They get tired, road weary, and yet, they go. Why? Why would anyone do this? I’ve seen pastors push through times of extreme fatigue, sacrifice their personal time and money, just to spend their lives speaking God’s Word. I imagine Pastor Teykl will sit down on his back porch this morning, with a cup of coffee in his hand, and wonder whether anyone really heard what he was saying. But the love of God grabs us by the heart and pulls us forward in faith. Just like the Apostle Paul, it is that same love that sends people like Pastor Teykl out into the world to teach and preach. It is prompting of the Holy Spirit that helps pastors and teachers get out of bed at 3am to pray and praise God. Has God called you to sacrifice your life to reach people with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Apostle Paul was an amazing man, for a lot of reasons. But I admire him most for his tenacity to go and preach, even when he knew many would not hear or understand. It takes great faith to speak God’s Word every day, recognizing that it will be rejected by some, laughed at by others, and yet, someone out there will hear and receive the message of salvation by faith. And that one person makes it all worth while. Paul never quit. He continued to go and speak, and used every resource at his disposal to share Jesus Christ with the world.

Today, I am thanking the Lord for all pastors and teachers who are called to preach and who willingly and faithfully serve Christ each day. There are times when you may feel discouraged, and extraordinarily tired. Please don’t give up on all of us. You are speaking our language, and we will hear and understand you through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit working in and through you. Thank you for serving the Lord.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: pastors and teachers and leaders in your church. They need a little affirmation every once in a while, just to know they are being heard and understood.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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