Had circumstances been as planned, today would have found me in Mattoon, IL beginning a gospel meeting with the good brethren at Southside. The meeting had been scheduled quite some time ago, and the sermon subjects had been announced as recently as a month ago. Alas, it was not to be. Emergency surgery had prompted the cancellation of a planned effort with the Brown Street church of Christ in Akron, OH, and the lingering recovery demanded I beg leave from this current effort. Thankfully, brother Michael Hickox was willing to “trade.” He will preach this week at Mattoon, and the Lord willing, I’ll go in the spring of 2023.
For preachers, there is no better remedy for illness than to return to teaching and preaching the gospel of Christ! Granted, we need to wait until we can return, but the moment we do, it is as if a renewed energy engulfs us, and our strength is renewed. Thankfully, my strength has returned enough to permit me to preach last Lord’s Day and to teach three bible studies this past week as well. That’s been great medicine!
I muse on such a reality. I’ve known a multitude of gospel preachers whose health stifled their pulpit abilities for long durations. But these men never stopped preaching; those feeble in physical abilities, they remained strong in heart and mind and would use what strength they had to do some good for the cause of Christ. Once returned to the pulpit, they gave their thanksgivings to God and mightily proclaimed His truth! Tired? Sure, but it was physical fatigue acquired from a labor of true love for Christ and the souls receiving that message!
At some time, this old body will no longer recover from its ailments and will rest from its labors with the works of the soul following it (Revelation 14:13). While so very thankful for the souls who have stepped up and preached and taught in my absence, I ponder if enough men are willing to accept the responsibility of preaching and teaching? While we remain very willing to help them develop in this work, there must be more men willing to accept the duty! Without them, the strength of the Lord’s church diminishes. We dare not let that happen! We need to be preaching and determine to continue presenting God’s truth to a lost and dying world! Who will accept the challenge and determine to speak God’s truth and only His truth? Souls need you to say, “Here am I, send me.”