This post comes from Pastor Bob Thompson (D.Min.) of Corinth Reformed Church in Hickory, NC. Bob has been a minister in the UCC for two decades.
Last week I decided to watch myself on TV. I wasn’t glad I did. I don’t know that I’ve watched my own sermon on video since seminary. It is, at the least, kind of strange.
We not only don’t record our worship sermons on video at Corinth; we don’t even record them on audio. The reason I was preaching on TV was that I had been a guest at Exodus Missionary Outreach Church. Their services are taped weekly for editing and broadcast on WHKY-TV.
Honestly, I thought it was better sermon when I was delivering it than I thought when I watched it. I found lots of ways it should have been improved in content and delivery. I’d give it a ‘B’ if I were grading it as a preaching professor.
As most of you know, Linda and I have also been working on a home improvement project recently. As I look around the room, I give myself a ‘B’ for floor refinishing, carpentry, sheet rock repair, and painting. Hopefully the casual guest in our home will not notice the flaws, but I will always see them.
The combination of those two areas has me thinking about other areas of my life – parenting, pastoring, and, most importantly, living out a personal relationship with Christ. ‘B’ at best. Maybe not even that most days.
This column is not designed to evoke praise or encouragement. I’m not looking for, or needing, words of affirmation. I’m not down about life or ministry.
Instead, I’m very aware of grace. God used that sermon at Exodus in spite of me to connect two very different congregations. The “new” living room looks pretty good overall, and has created the larger, more open space we intended to create. My kids are turning out great in spite of my flaws. ( As of this Sunday, for example, we’ll be 3 for 3 graduating from college – on time! On Mother’s Day, Jeni will receive her Bachelor of Music degree from Appalachian State University, graduating summa cum laude [with highest honors].)
God is not looking for perfection. That quality belongs to him alone. He’s looking for people who are willing to let him take us where we are, willing to give our best, and willing to admit our own flaws, sins, and shortcomings.
So take courage if you feel in one area (or all of them, like me lately) you’re doing ‘B’ work. God loves you and is using you. If you’re perfect, you don’t need him. Trust me – you need him.