Monday, 23 April 2012

Speaking Engagement

I’ve had a very interesting afternoon as I returned to the church I was a volunteer at over twenty years ago. Gosh that makes me sound really old but I am half the age of some of the regulars at the Ladies Meeting I was speaking at.

Yes that’s right I had my first proper public speaking engagement!

I’d been asked to speak years ago but chickened out – what did I have to say to these dear ladies? What wisdom could I impart?

Even today I was a little overawed.

Andrew spoke there once, telling them about life on an oil rig – they adored him with his wit and repartee. My mother-in-law reminded me of this fact before I went – not helpful as the tears started and remained close to the surface.

However it gave my talk a more personal slant as I skipped huge chunks from my notes and went slightly off at a tangent – always dangerous. I have led church services before but never done this “preachy” bit and I know from the past that my ability to “wing it” comes and goes.

Overall I loved the experience today, I was reminded how much I like standing up at the front and obviously as a writer I like to think I have a lot to say.

I spoke about 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 6 and 7.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.”

I didn’t want to speak about the trials and testing bit, but opted to talk about the end of the verse “your faith is far more precious than mere gold”. These were the words that stood out to me a few months ago when I “found” this passage.

I talked about how precious gold is to us, Olympians compete for it, money men invest in it, but God sees our faith as being far more valuable.

Even when our faith is crumbling, small and insignificant, even when our faith lets us down.

There is a Sarah in the Bible and in the book of Hebrews she is listed as a great woman of faith and yet when we read her story in the Old Testament we see how her faith wavered.

She was promised a baby but because she was too old she offered her maid servant to her husband, thinking she would raise the child they had together.

As you can imagine this didn’t work out quite as neatly as planned, a very jealous Sarah banished mother and child. When Sarah eventually got pregnant she laughed not quite believing it was true. You can read all about her and her story in Genesis 16 – 21.

She was a woman who waited impatiently for her promised child while along the way she lied and doubted, she tried to second guess God and come up with her own plan and laughed at the very idea she would conceive.

Yet she makes it into the Hall of Faith in Hebrews, the list of the great and faithful. So there must have been a tiny bit of faith there all along, small and precious despite her human failings. I love her to bits!

I talked about my Easter holiday with the boys off school, of my own doubts and struggles, of feeling I can’t go on with this but how the story of my namesake Sarah keeps me hanging on, if only by a fingernail.

Deep down despite the trials I’ve had to face I believe that God is God and sometimes that is all the faith you need and in return God thinks it is more valuable than gold.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room – I never meant to make these ladies cry, the personal stuff crept in, I spoke from the heart just as I try to write here in this blog.

Shouldn’t you always write/speak of what you know?

They’ve invited me back, which must be a good sign and they gave me the church flowers.

I hope I blessed them in the words that I shared, I know they blessed me!

1 comment:

  1. Helen V Anderson23 April 2012 at 22:46

    It sounds like you pitched it just right. Well done!