I do not have great eloquence or superior wisdom. I can tell you that many times there is weakness, fear, and trembling. Take my first official appearance as a professional pulpiteer, for example. I was a South Carolina boy from a Texas seminary scheduled to preach nine consecutive revival services in a little Baptist church in Los Angeles, California.
For some reason, I thought I needed a different suit for each service. I didn’t own any luggage, so I arrived in L.A. from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport with my wife’s matching pink luggage including her pink hanging bag with nine suits. I was confident enough in my masculinity to carry pink suitcases through L.A., but my confidence in my preaching skills were cause for concern. I was anxious before my first appearance on Sunday morning and worried about blending into the Southern California culture with my Southern accent.
Ten minutes before the first service began, I overheard a senior adult lady (who apparently assumed I was a native of Texas) say to a friend, “I’m glad this year’s preacher is from Texas. The fellow we had last year was from South Carolina and I couldn’t understand a word he said.”
Believe it or not, God used this pitiful excuse for a revival preacher that week. God spoke to some people and a few lives were reinvigorated. It was definitely not because of my great eloquence or superior wisdom. It was totally because God worked through a rookie preacher from the Deep South.
The truth is, I’ve heard a lot of popular speakers who are not the most eloquent, entertaining, or scholarly presenters. But God uses them because they make themselves usable. That is what God wants. It’s not so much about your ability but your availability. Let God have what abilities you have, no matter how feeble they may seem to be, and make yourself available to Him. God will use your humble service to draw others close to Him.
The apostle Paul was not an outstanding orator. He mentioned in one of his letters to the church in Corinth that some say about him:
“His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing”
(2 Corinthians 10:10).
Paul writes that he did not intend to preach “with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5). Paul did not want to speak in such a way that his human effort would persuade people. He depended on God’s Holy Spirit and divine power to do the work.
What does this mean for us today? Live obediently for Christ. Humbly love Him and serve Him. Live out your faith with the abilities that He has given you. Draw strength from the Holy Spirit allowing Him to speak through your life. You will be amazed at what God can do through ordinary you if you let Him!