It is not every week you are given the opportunity to share the Sunday morning message in your childhood church. Such was the case recently when a pastor friend asked if I would fill the pulpit while he ministered on the mission field in India.
It was an exciting day as my family was greeted by many of my spiritual patriarchs who had invested in me as Sunday School teachers, camp counselors and youth workers. It was at this church that I learned to pray, read my Bible and share my faith.
I am not alone. Hundreds of young people have been touched by Yukon, First. Like me, many are in full-time Christian service. To this day, the ladies of the church pray for those of us who are active in ministry throughout the world.
My chest swelled a little as I stepped to the platform. Like a bull in a china closet, I stubbed my toe on the top step. With grace and finesse, my quick reflexes helped me avoid certain disaster. But the worst was yet to come.
My sermon was moving along smoothly. I had even picked up a few amens along the way. During the third point of the message, I made reference to how the Bible’s greatest leaders were subject to criticism.
I pontificated about how Jesus himself was criticized and asked the church to consider how Moses must have felt when his neighbors laughed as he built the ark.
Much to my surprise, my Moses comments brought smiles to many faces. Not one to miss audience feedback, I went on and on about how Moses fulfilled his calling by dragging wood, driving nails and herding animals onto the ark.
At this point, many in the congregation were struggling with laughter. However, I noticed looks of horror on the faces of my wife and children. Why were they in such a state of alarm? Everyone else was enjoying my message. Why were they in a state of panic?
Then it dawned on me, Moses building an ark! What was I thinking? Moses? Holy Moses? Were my Sunday School teachers thinking their investment in me was a total waste? Had I not learned the difference between Noah and Moses? I was ready for an alter call on the spot. I would be the first one down the aisle to confess I was a total buffoon!
Despite the stumbling and mumbling of their native son, the church gave me a second chance and invited me back the following week. They continued to believe in me, pray for me and laugh with me when I needed their love and acceptance most.
This wasn’t the first time I was given a second chance at the First Baptist Church. No, Jesus gave me my first second chance there in 1976 when I accepted Him as Savior. I’m grateful we serve a God of second chances.
No doubt some of us need more second chances than others! This mishap wasn’t my first and will likely not be my last. Keep praying ladies. Keep praying. God isn’t finished with me yet!