My pastor inspired me with his recent sermon “What’s that in Thy Hand?” You can listen to it here.
Although the title comes from the Old Testament, the sermon text was Acts 18:1-4. He pointed out that Paul was a tentmaker and proceeded to give three examples of men in the New Testament.
The point: God prepared these men for their ministries through their secular work .
I’ll admit, I hadn’t really considered this before. And I’ve taught both women and teenagers about the importance of identifying personal strengths and abilities and consciously choosing to serve God with them.
So let’s consider Peter who was called by the Lord in Matthew 4:18-20. He was a fisherman (not a very glamorous job) but Jesus promised to make him a “fisher of men.” Peter and his brother understood that just as fishing required toil and time and patience, “catching men” for the Lord’s kingdom mission would require the same.
Consider the tentmaking Paul learned as a trade, likely from his own father. Tents were (and still are) important for the nomadic people who live in the scorching, unforgiving Middle East. It was no quick thing to construct one. On a spiritual scale, Paul is known for building churches, dwelling places for the Most High. The patience, perseverance, and wisdom he learned in making tents was valuable experience as he built churches.
The third example from the sermon was John. He was also a fisherman, but when the Lord called him in Matthew 4:21-22, John was mending nets. Talk about a tedious job. He must have been a bit relieved to leave it behind when he and his brother James answered the call from Jesus. Except as the pastor at Ephesus and penner of a Gospel, three letters and then the Revelation, he spent plenty of ministerial energy helping people mend broken relationships.
What about you?
God told Moses to use the rod that was in his hand. It became referred to as the “rod of God” and Moses used it to perform amazing signs and wonders. He was a poor shepherd when the Lord called him, and the shepherd’s tool he carried became central in his work for the Lord.
What are your gifts, talents and experiences? What do you “have in your hand”?
Let’s talk about why this sermon spoke to me.
I’ve been struggling since my publisher returned the rights on my Christian romance novellas. Although I’ve felt for some time that God wasn’t calling me to write those sort of stories anymore, I was still disappointed. Especially since the women’s fiction I’m writing isn’t coming together as quickly and easily as past novel.
But I feel God calling me to more. He has given me an incredible publishing journey. When I started more than six years ago, I wished I could find a published author to help me. I reached out to many of them and met with one local author who gave me insightful advice.
As I filled out job applications, wondering how I’d be able to earn a bit of money now that classrooms are virtual and substitute teaching isn’t really “a thing,” I thought about taking my writing freelance. But what I really wanted was to use my passion for teaching and help other writers.
Virtual classrooms. Meeting other writers online using technology. These are avenues that I can use to take what’s in my hand (experience writing, editing, submitting, and selling) to help other writers who are beginning their journey. That’s right, this sermon was a nod from God that my desire to be a writing coach is perfectly in line with His plans.
Using my experience and talent, I can help other writers share their God-given stories and with others. That’s how I’ll use what’s in my hands for the Lord.
What about you? How will you use your gifts, talents, and experiences to serve the Lord?