Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

October 27, 2010

Preach Again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

“Preach again.”  Those were the words whispered to me while an offering was being taken.

I believe I panicked inwardly.  I had just preached for the second time since being called into the ministry.  And now in the same service, I was being told that I needed to preach a an additional sermon!

Some details are blurry about the sequence of preaching in those early days of committing myself to the call of God to be a minister.  I do recall the sermon, in fact, I still have it.  I believe I had preached it one time at my old home church when I came home for the summer following the school year.  But this invitation to preach had come, and I joyfully accepted it — but I assumed you only preach one sermon per service!  I was wrong!

My family had a business in town that had serviced all the people for years.  In fact, it was really the only business, and the customers were from all the citizens.  A large number of these were African-Americans.  My father was a friend to them and provided credit for purchases.  He was often the one  they turned to when they needed an advocate from the white community.

When they learned that I had surrendered to the ministry, they asked my mother and father to invite me to preach in the local African-American church.  I had looked forward to the opportunity to preach . . . and to be with so many friends I had known most of my life.

The church was packed.  I began preaching that one sermon . . . and never had I experienced such responses of shouting and amens.  It was a wonderful experience.  When I concluded my message, I sat down next to the pastor.  He gave me many encouraging words, patted me on the knee, and said, “Preach again.”

“What?” was my response.  He then explained.  When the offering was concluded, I needed to preach again.  That is when I began to feel a little sick!  I had just preached my “one” sermon!  I tried to think . . . but it is not easy when you feel such panic.  But there in my Bible was another “sermon.”  Well, I wouldn’t really call it a sermon because it was not finished.  It was started, and I had planned to preach in on the next occasion I would have.

But, I hadn’t planned for this to be the “next occasion.”  I am not sure that I reasoned this at that moment, but it did pass my mind!  “Maybe he means for me to preach the same sermon again.  Maybe he thinks I can do it better the second time . . . or maybe he wants his people to really hear it the second time.”

But since I couldn’t really think straight, I got up and preached again — the next sermon!  But I don’t remember what it was!  Having concluded . . . I sat down again by the preacher.  He smiled . . . patted my leg again . . . and said they would take another offering!

“Oh, me,”  was my thought.  “Is he going to ask me to preach a third sermon?”  Talk about real panic!  I think I decided that the idea was for me to preach until he got the offering he wanted.  I suppose the people could respond in their giving for one of two reasons:  either they get so moved they give . . . or they give enough that they won’t have to hear me preach again.

I am delighted to report that the service concluded after the second sermon and the second offering!  I assure you that since that day I have been prepared.  I always have “several” sermons tucked away in my Bible!  But strange . . . no other church, anywhere, has asked for a second sermon following the first one!

I will not conjecture why, like some of you — poor preaching  — first one was too long — got to get to the restaurant — etc.  But what I really believe is that it is a cultural thing!  Yes, those African-American brothers and sisters are really serious about hearing a word from God — no matter how long it takes!

My lesson learned — be prepared always!  But then the God who called me wrote to me about that.

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season . . . .”  (2 Timothy 4:2)



1 Comment »

  1. Hey Bro. Lawson,

    It was so great seeing you and Mrs. Judy the other day. God Bless and keep up the great work. I love reading your articles.


    Comment by CJ Pipkins — October 27, 2010 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

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