Apples of Gold

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I am not eloquent

O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

Exodus Chapter 4 Verse 10

For many years the only true and real 'calling' that I could imagine in this life was to be a preacher of the gospel. It is without doubt the highest calling available or should I say honour for any man.
It is over twenty years now since I approached a minister in my church for guidance on this matter. I was aware of a compelling urge to preach. I did not feel 'gifted' or qualified enough to preach, but I could not get rid of the nagging within. His advice to me was, 'if there was any way that I could stay out of the ministry, then I was to do that!'

'Phew!!' Relief! I do not have to go back to school, sit exams, go to College for three or four years and I did not have to stand up in front of people each week and preach a sermon. Yes there was relief, but the 'nagging' within didn't go away. It kept returning as surely as the tide returns to the shore.

I studied hard each evening in my own home for what seemed like months on end. I read Louis Berkhof's, Systematic Theology from cover to cover, then went on to Hodge's three volumes.
Theology was meat and drink to my thirsty soul at that time, and each day I was learning something new. I confess that my knowledge of the Scriptures was then as it is now - very poor indeed.

It was in Romania that I was given the first opportunity to preach. I did so through an interpreter and I confess that I truly enjoyed the experience.

A while after returning home I was asked if I would take the occasional Prayer Meeting in a small, yet warm village church. I did so, and I returned a number of times.

I dreaded it! I enjoyed the preparation and the discipline of preparing each sermon, yet I hated the actual preaching. I was sick in my stomach days beforehand, yet I managed to memorise the sermon before actually preaching it. I didn't use notes - I simply stared at the back wall of the church and spoke!

I truly felt sorry for those sitting in the pews listening to me. I had absolutely no confidence in what I was doing, and after a number of months I decided that it was not for me. Was this the right decision for me to take or was I simply echoing Moses' words quoted above?

It is the easiest thing in the world for us to make excuses, especially when the Lord's service is concerned. How often have I been guilty of sitting back and allowing others to struggle on when I have been sitting on my backside doing nothing? How often has the fear of man prevented me from doing certain tasks in the Lord's Name?

I preached twice at 'Open Air' meetings in Stornoway, my home town. I hated it!! I could not string two sentences together and I found myself too easily distracted with all that was going on around me.

I am glad to have done it, but never again! I admire those who can preach at these meetings, they are gifted indeed. I would love to have heard George Whitefield.

I made up many excuses when I was fitter and healthier than I am now, but I question these decisions now. Was I right or wrong? Have I missed my calling?

Am I being chastened by means of ill health because of my disobedience? Perhaps I should have done this, or said that, or taken this turn or that! Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!!

I can make myself ill meditating on my errors, but that is not productive. What has happened before is now water under the bridge. I have only today and I have the choice either to serve God where I am, as I am or not serve Him at all.

Will I ever be able to preach the glorious Gospel in public? I do not know the answer to that question and I do not worry about it. If it is to be then the Lord would have to improve my physical well being in a manner that only He could do. Is what I am doing now my training ground or is this my calling?

Today it's my calling. Today is all I have, and although I did not know what I was going to write about this morning as I got out of my bed, the desire to do so was there.

I often write and wonder if anyone reads what I am writing. I wonder if I truly do any souls good. I dispel such thoughts by committing my efforts to the One who alone can bless and bring the increase.

I am not eloquent neither do I count myself a skilled writer. I am most thankful to Pastor Al Moak for it is he who takes the time to edit my writings and that is no easy task! God provided me with a helper as He did with Moses. Thank you Lord and thank you Pastor Moak.

We may be fearful of doing anything in His name, but my friend let me encourage you to do all that you can for Him while it is called day. If you keep putting off what the Lord wants you to do, then the day may come when you will not be able to do it!

Do not make the same mistakes that I have made. God does not want to hear excuses, even though we may be quite eloquent in offering them!!

I will not give you the advice that was given to me those many years ago, but rather I say to you, if the Lord is calling you, then He will also equip you for the task at hand.
Remember you do not need to be a preacher of the Gospel to serve God. May you hear His words to your soul today - 'Go forward.' As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. 

Author : Iain Mackenzie  Edited by : Pastor Al Moak