Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Sermon Just for Me by Marcia Lee Laycock

Marcia writes from Central Alberta Canada where she and her husband are involved in planting a new church. Her devotionals have been widely published and in 2006 she was awarded the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone.

Last Sunday, as I settled in my chair I prayed a quick prayer. “Talk to me, Lord.”

My husband tends to be a spontaneous person and I’ve gotten used to him doing unexpected things. Sometimes. But last Sunday he surprised me by announcing that I was going to give my testimony that morning, in 3 minutes or less. He hadn’t warned me about this, probably because he didn’t know he was going to do it until that very moment. As I walked up to the front I was thinking, Good thing I’m good at public speaking. The testimony part is a breeze, but in 3 minutes? No doubt he gave me a time limit because he knows my tendency to go on and on. He did have a sermon to preach that morning. So I did what he asked and all went well. As I expected it would.
Then my husband got up to preach. The sermon was on Mark 12:41-44 – a short passage of scripture that seemed straightforward as he read it out loud. The widow gave all she had. She was extremely generous. She put the religious leaders to shame. But my husband, bless him, took a different tack when he said, this little bit of scripture is really about pride and humility. Huh?
I felt God tapping me on the shoulder. I was feeling quite self-satisfied, having just given my testimony clearly, with just the right emphasis. In fact I was thinking, ‘I really am good at that.’ The more my favourite preacher spoke the more I felt like crawling under my chair. I knew that what had just happened was no coincidence.
God was talking to me but I wasn’t particularly happy to hear it.
Then my favourite preacher started talking about generosity. Okay, that’s better. I sat up a bit. Then he said, “the core of generosity is humility.” Oh. And he gave Haddon Robinson’s definition – “humility is confidence properly placed.” Oh dear.
When Proverbs 29:23 appeared in big bold letters on the screen I had to grin just a little. “Pride brings you low.” Right. I really should remember that.
I was encouraged, when my husband acknowledged that he, and everyone else in the room, all struggle with pride. It’s a big part of the human condition. The trick is to catch ourselves at it, repent of it, and put ourselves back in the place where we all need to be, at the feet of Jesus. Confidence properly placed. Right.
I definitely have to remember that.