For the last two Sundays I have been away from my home church. The majority of the last 35 years I have had one pastor–my husband. As strange as that sounds to you, I can assure you that it sounds just as strange to me. In a lifetime of dreams, never once did I imagine that I would be a pastor’s wife.
Traveling with my pastor-husband means that, if he’s not preaching, I am hearing a sermon from someone else. And hearing from someone different can be a good thing–even when I’m not really expecting it to be.
I happen to hold my pastor in high-esteem, and the danger of comparison is an occupational hazard.
I am confessing here. Sometimes it’s hard for me to listen to someone else. I love hearing my pastor-husband preach, and week after week while I am comfortably settled in my pew, I not only listen intently, but I take notes… If you look in my file cabinet, there are years of notes. You can look in my Bible and see leftover bulletins with notes and highlighted passages with side notes. I happen to be a visual learner, and I remember things so much better when I write them down. So I doodle. I write. I underline. I highlight. And sometimes, when I attend more than one service (we have three), I add to the notes that I already took the first time.
You know why?
Not because my husband is so wise (he is). Not because I want to make sure to listen (he easily keeps my attention).
It’s because I know that God’s word is true. God is faithful and His desire is for us to know Him, and
I am a student of the Bible. As long as I live and breathe, I want to learn more of this historical record preserved by God and of His plan for me. For mankind. I will never forget our 90-year-old grandmother’s questions for her young grandson-seminary student. When pastor-husband was still working on his seminary degree, Grandma would pepper him with questions about the Bible. This woman, whose Bible was worn to fragility, and who had faithfully taught Sunday School for decades, was still quite anxious to learn more about her Savior. (Even from someone much younger than her–a younger someone who just happened to believe that he had much to learn from her.)
So here I am. Listening to someone other than my favorite preacher, and I am tempted to compare. But my merciful God reminded me that He had something for me here. That He knew I would be here today. In this place. At this time. With this preacher.
And He reminded that this infallible, inerrant Word is being preached all over the world today. In pulpits from Phoenix to Philadelphia, and from America to Africa, His Word is being proclaimed. By men who are students themselves. Men who are called by God, guided by the Holy Spirit, and empowered by the very Word they preach. None of them perfect. None worthy. But each of them willing to share what God is teaching them.
And it hit me like a two-by-four. That’s all that God requires of any of us, really:
To know Him. To make Him known.
The rest is just icing on the cake. A privilege. An opportunity that we too often take for granted.
Did you worship the God of the universe today? Be thankful. Because no matter where you are today, He is working. He knows exactly what we need to hear.
We just need to listen.