It was Saturday afternoon and I was at church getting ready to preach the 5:00 pm service. We are in the middle of a series called “The Story” as we travel through God’s Story to find our story within it.
This particular week I was asked to preach on the life of Hannah Samuel, and Saul which in and of itself is a daunting task. Weeks of preparation had distilled down to a mad dash to the finish as I still needed some final tweaking and proofing before it was ready for people to hear.
As I sat at my desk I started to read through the message to make sure I was making sense when I first wrote it and all of a sudden I got a knock at the door.
“Pastor Brian, I just wanted you to know that the refrigerator in the kitchen is not working.”
“How do you know?” I inquired of our volunteer.
“Well I’m no expert, but the smell is pretty much a dead giveaway.”
I hit save on my computer and then went to the kitchen to take a look and smell for myself. Sure enough the fridge was on the fritz and there was nothing we could do until Monday. A few quick texts to my electrician friends and some thanks to the volunteer that was now throwing away the “science food experiment “ in the fridge and I started walking back to my office to finish the message.
As I was walking something caught my eye.
The trash in the Kids Director’s office was full.
“Funny,” I thought. “They must have missed that one.”
However, as I continued on my route I noticed that every trash can I came across had the same Facebook status line: Full.
Yet another quick text message sent out revealed that an employee that normally cleans the building abruptly quit and our building had been forgotten in the scrambling fray of events that had ensued.
So taking an about face, I grabbed the cleaning cart, put on some gloves, and began cleaning toilets, scrubbing counters, vacuuming floors, and emptying trash. To say I was a bit distracted by having to do this was an understatement, but in the middle of cleaning the middle stall in the women’s bathroom I got a spiritual punch in the gut.
It was in this moment of clarity that I realized that I had put so much emphasis on me and my sermon and my preparation and my desire to do a good job that I had lost sight of who actually was doing the preaching this weekend.
It was God that was to be lifted up and not me. It was God that draws people to Himself. It’s God’s Word that I am given the privilege of teaching not my feeble attempts at creative turn of phrase. It is God that saves through His grace and mercy.
I have zero to do with any of that.
In addition it was God’s strength that I needed to get through the weekend, not my own. It was God’s love that I needed to proclaim. It was God’s patience I needed to have grow in my life.
With every swish of the toilet brush I realized I had almost gotten on stage and left God on the ground. I had almost preached without God.
Needless to say, I put down the brush and got down on my knees in repentance of my pride, arrogance, and weakness. I prayed that God would make me less so that He was more and that I might be in awe of what He would do this weekend.
I know I learned a very valuable lesson that day and one I’m sure I will have to relearn again before I die. The lesson was “Don’t think of yourself greater than you are because God has a way of humbling those that do”.
Proverbs 3:34 “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.”
Matthew 23:12 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Maybe this was just a post for me or maybe you can relate to this somehow in your life. It could be that in your life you have been relying far too much on you and not enough on Him. There possibly could be a person that is thinking that things are so good right now that why even worry about God at all?
I believe only you can answer that for you, but as for me I know I am glad I had to grab a toilet brush this weekend so that God could be lifted high.