Recently I spoke to a group of pastors, elders, missions committee members, and missionaries. I was to give a word of encouragement for 10 or 15 minutes to these men and women who have faithfully served God. I spoke from one of my favorite passages of Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:57-58.
I had meditated on this verse for several days and felt prepared. However, I had traveled all day, was very tired, and my knee was giving me problems with pain. Nevertheless, I felt confident in the Lord to minister to these dear saints of God, and felt I did not need to use notes. Was I ever mistaken! I forgot special points in mid-sentence, lost my train of thought twice, did not finish certain applications properly from the Word, and sat down in complete frustration and embarrassment.
I have come to realize I cannot speak without notes. It is good to trust God, but also remember our limitations. God will lead and guide as we prepare, and then we trust Him. He leads us to divert to other matters and applications. I’ve learned I need to at least have studied and prepared the basic framework to speak from, and God will help me to prepare.
It was a good experience for me to learn from my mistake; however, I feel sorry for the 50 people who had to listen to me through the mistakes.
Throughout the night the incident kept returning to my mind because of the overwhelming sense of embarrassment and failure. My prayer was, “Oh, God, you taught me this wonderful lesson, BUT I ask that You still use my stammering speech to glorify Your name and encourage Your people!”