I look at those seven words in that exact order every week. My job is to find a passage from the Bible for each day and write a short paragraph or two to help the people I pastor to marinate on that week’s sermon.
Words have always come naturally to me. One time in college this guy who lived down the hall came up to me with a strange request. He had a look on his face like he wanted to buy some heroin. Whatever it was he was about to ask me for he wanted it quick and he didn’t want anyone to know about it.
It turns out that he didn’t want any heroin.
He wanted me to write a poem for him. Well, not for him. For his girlfriend. Allow me to explain.
He had a date that night and he wanted it to be extra romantic. His problem was that he didn’t really know how to be romantic. So he asked me to write a poem for his girlfriend.
And I did.
I don’t remember anything that I wrote but I’m sure that it had something to do with her eyes sparkling like stars and her beauty surpassing the north Georgia pine trees. You know, quality literature.
He loved it.
They broke up shortly after that date.
A few years later I was killing time with my friend for a few hours before his wedding. Out of nowhere, he started to panic. I thought that he was having second thoughts about getting married.
It turns out that the source of his panic was much worse.
You see, he and his future wife had agreed to write their own wedding vows. Like any bride to be, she wrote hers about six months before the wedding. He still hadn’t written his and it was less than six hours before the wedding.
So guess who got to do the honors.
I can’t remember what I wrote but it may or may not have had something to do with her eyes sparkling like stars and her beauty surpassing the north Georgia pine trees.
They’re still married, almost fifteen years later. I’m batting .500 in the business of romance.
That’s sort of the mentality I had when I first started writing devotionals for my church. Just do it. Get it over with. Start again next week.
Then God convicted me. Nothing major happened. My office didn’t catch on fire. I didn’t hear a voice. I just knew that I was being arrogant. No matter how humble you think you are, if you’re not committing something to prayer, you are arrogant. Not praying about something is the equivalent of telling God that your talent is enough and that you’ll get back to him when you really need him.
So I started to pray before I wrote out the devotional each week. It’s essentially the same prayer every time. I pray for God to work through me to put the right passage of Scripture with the right day according to what brings him the most glory and what is best for the people that I pastor.
Last week someone was telling me how much they appreciated the devotionals that I write. They said that I seemed to always put just the right passage on the day that they needed it the most.
I got to explain to them how that has nothing to do with me.
It was just God working through me.
If you want to impress people with what you can do, just do what comes natural and rely on your particular set of skills. Every now and then, it might even work.
But if you want to show people the power of God, commit your work to him in prayer, even the tasks that come naturally, and get out of the way. You will be amazed.
Also, if you know anyone who needs to hire a wedding vow writer, I know a good one. His track record is just okay but he comes real cheap.
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:18-20 (ESV)