Thursday, August 22, 2013
A Little Overwhelmed........
One of my "heroes" during my formative years was a pastor named E.V. Hill. I would try to attend conferences where he was speaking, get "cassettes" (remember those?) of his messages, and basically absorb everything I could from his teaching. He was humorous, enthusiastic, and often times very helpful.
I heard him tell the story of an elderly pastor who was the go to guy for all the young preachers in E.V. Hill's network. Whenever these young pastors needed encouragement they would make an appointment with this seasoned elder in the faith. This weathered brother would listen carefully, sometimes make suggestions, but invariably always came to the same conclusion. Go back to your ministry and "Preach a Little!" Preaching always seemed to make things right. Discouraged? Preach a little! Frustrated? Preach a little!......etc....
If my memory serves me correctly, the first time I heard E.V. Hill tell this story was at a Billy Graham Conference at Wheaton in 1984 where E.V. Hill was speaking. I could have the location details wrong, but I still have the notebook in my archives and could easily check the dates.......but the story still impacts me when I get to the place where I am feeling a little overwhelmed. The lessons that event taught me have served me through three decades of life and ministry.
1. It is good to have some experienced leaders to talk to during difficult times.
2. Going to God's Word for perspective during difficult days always has a calming effect.
3. Focus on what has to be done for sure, when things get a little confusing. In my case as a pastor, regardless of what is going on around me, conflict, sorrow, fatigue etc., Sunday is never far away. So, whenever circumstances tend to fog my vision, I know I have to be ready to preach that weekend. So, to settle down, I have learned to shut the door, break out the Scriptures, and dig in to what God wants to say that week to me and through me. Because in a few short days, I will have one more chance to "Preach a Little!"
I know that your vocational focus may be different than mine, but the habit of dialing in on what has to happen is a good first step in re-establishing equilibrium during confusing times.
Until next time,