Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. James 3:1-2 (TM)
While in college, I spent a summer as an intern at a church in rural Iowa. When the pastor learned that I had a gift in preaching, he asked me to fill the pulpit on several Sunday mornings and many Sunday nights. It was a great opportunity for me to learn what it took to preach week after week.
One of the most vivid memories I have of that summer is of Vern. Vern was a kind, old man who faithfully attended the church any time the doors were open. If I close my eyes, I can still see in my mind’s eye exactly where he sat in the sanctuary. I can picture him sitting there with head bowed. His head was bowed, not because he was in prayer, but because he was constantly writing on the bulletin or little scraps of paper he found in his pockets. After the service was over, Vern would walk up and hand me the paper on which he’d been writing. On the little scrap of paper were all of the scripture passages he was determined I should have used in my sermon.
I’ve often joked that when you stand up in front of a group of people to you, inherently, have a huge target on you. People will be very critical of anything you say and some of them will have no problem telling you when they think you are wrong.