Last week I was given the privilege of delivering the sermon at my childhood church.
This was the very building in which the foundation of my faith was laid. It was on those grounds that I attended Sunday school, sang children’s songs about Jesus (“If I were a butterfly . . . I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings!”), earned candy for memorizing Bible verses, was confirmed and baptized, and participated in youth group from middle school through high school.
What an honor to now stand and share the message of my heart with some of the same people who poured into my faith as an elementary aged student and teenager.
Two days beforehand, I was excited and preparing my material, when all of the sudden, a close friend had emailed me a great sermon from another Christian female to view. This speaker’s message was relatable, and her words were delivered in such a humorous manner.
As I sat there in the living room chair, listening to the people in the crowd respond with laughter through the speaker on my phone, I thought to myself . . . why can’t I have THAT type of message God? Why can’t I have a topic that includes opportunities to be witty and amusing?
You see, I love to laugh. (Even Sarah from the Bible is famous for laughing--albeit inappropriately--but a legendary laugher nonetheless.) My problem . . . the core message that God has asked me to share with the world is about broken hearts, not funny bones.
When I say that, “Suffering is a gift from God” it’s not the type of sermon that leaves much room for comical relief. Because pain is not hilarious. It’s uncomfortable, it hurts--and it needs to be handled delicately with compassion first, not sarcasm or jokes.
So I sat there for a brief period of time and sort of complained in my head to God . . . “Lord, could I please have a different message to preach--one that is funnier and more entertaining?”
When I say, “a brief period of time,” I do mean brief. Because very quickly the Holy Spirit checked my heart and set it straight.
There are times where humor is appropriate and there are times when a more serious tone is necessary. God needs different speakers for both types of messages. Just like the Bible contains blessings and curses, war and peace, life and death, truth and grace--we are given lighter and heavier messages to receive/deliver. At times we are to laugh . . . and at times we are to cry.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven . . . A time to cry and a time to laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 NLT)
I started to feel convicted at my dissatisfaction with what God gave me.
No, pain and suffering may not be humorous, but it is a topic that God has a lot to say about in His Word. I was tasked with writing and speaking about difficult circumstances and the abundant opportunities to practice/develop Fruit of the Spirit. In that moment of conviction, I praised God for the privilege of being selected to deliver this truth.
Just as quickly as I grumbled, I apologized to God for ever being disappointed with the particular sermon that He has stewarded me with to preach and teach. The message of Purpose Through Perspective is a gift--and God has specifically called me to help others unwrap it, see it, and put it into practice. Although it may not earn as many laughs, I pray that the message I deliver will change countless lives.
Have you ever grumbled to God about what He has selected for you . . . secretly or openly coveting that you could have what that other person over there has?
God doesn’t make any mistakes. If He has selected something for you, He must have a will with it. Your circumstances may not be funny or most-desirable, but God has a purpose for everything.
Don’t wish away what God has planned for you and through you. Embrace your calling and message.