For convenience sake, I go to Ukweli Chapel, the church right at our training center. It's a small church, averaging perhaps 60 or so people every week. Today, I thought of visiting a church in town, just for the sake of getting off our campus and meeting other people. But then our director came and asked if I'd mind sharing in church today.
Lesson: Ask exactly what is meant by "sharing."
I assumed he just wanted me to say something during the "open mike" time. (Not that we use microphones, though.) After singing, there's usually a time when anyone can share. Some people sing. And sometimes, like today, when one person gets up to share a song, others may get up during her singing and join her to sing. Some people share a testimony, or a thought.
I kept waiting for the pastor to give me a sign, "Now's your turn, Adele." But sharing time came and went. And then it was time for the message, and the director announced that I'm preaching.
Lesson: Keep a number of messages ready in case you're asked to share.
Fortunately, I had been thinking about some thoughts to share during staff devotions tomorrow, and I was able to elaborate and actually bring a challenging message. It was not my own brilliance, believe me. It was a God moment!
I shared from Matthew 4 (Jesus calling His disciples) and Matthew 14 (Peter walking on water), about Jewish culture demanding that only the very best scholars getting permission to follow a rabbi and learn from him. When Jesus was calling ordinary guys to follow Him, he was essentially saying, "I believe in YOU. You can do what I do." And that's why Peter dared to step out on the water. He wanted to do what his teacher did. When he started doubting, he was doubting himself, not Jesus.
I was able to encourage the congregation that each one of us are called to follow Jesus. It's not our initiative. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4.) And so, when we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks facing us, we can remember that Jesus called us because He believes in us! We can do what we are called to do because of Him.
And again, I have no doubt that I was able to share today because of Him, not because I'm a teacher. I don't think I am. I know, however, that I have an amazing teacher whom I want to imitate.
In that, I find courage.