Well, it’s Tuesday evening as I write this, and Ann Alexander has reminded me that tomorrow is the deadline for a pastoral message from me to be submitted for next week’s e-news.
Of course, I would love to write something helpful, something instructive, maybe even something inspirational or creative, but nothing comes to mind. It is one of those not-so-rare occasions when my well is dry and I seem to be out of ideas.
This is not an unfamiliar experience for any preacher. Sundays with their required sermons and prayers come round with relentless regularity, as do devotionals, articles, Bible studies and class instruction.
I suppose others experience the same kind of thing in different ways: columnists for media, teachers in classrooms, even parents trying to entertain or instruct their children at home during this pandemic.
What do we say or do when we haven’t a clue?
The backup plan
Fortunately, when this occurs in my life and ministry I go back to a fail-safe backup plan (actually a divine assurance) expressed in what has become one of my favorite and most comforting scripture lessons, Isaiah 55:10-11:
For as the rain and the snow come
down from heaven
and do not return there but
water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower
and bread to the eater,
so shall be my word that goes out
from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which
and shall succeed in the thing
for which I sent it.
Let the Word do the work
How liberating a message is this for an exhausted, uninspired preacher with a deadline to meet? What a promise to reclaim when tempted to rely on my own meager resources.
God’s word can get through and accomplish God’s purpose even when I don’t have an inspired or creative bone in my body. All I need to do is to just share what that word is and God is then responsible for watering and nurturing it and making human hearts and minds receptive.
Not I, but God will make the Word accomplish its purpose, or better, accomplish God’s purpose.
Words for the day
So then, if you need a word from God today, let me just ask you to read one of the day’s recommended scripture lessons for tomorrow taken from the Daily Prayer Edition of our Book of Common Worship.
Three readings are recommended for each day, and I dare to believe that if you take the time to read the three for tomorrow’s day of deadline, at least one will contain a word from God that you may just need to hear.
God may use my insights or experiences on occasion but is quite capable of speaking a word to you without my assistance. So read below and see what God may have to say to you today.
July 30, 2020