Two weeks ago, I was getting ready to preach on how the gospel pushes us to be a people who are passionately committed to justice. Yet as I was preparing to preach, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was spending my life in the most meaningful way. Here I am challenging our congregation to work against injustice in thousands of practical ways and my great contribution was to spend hours upon hours, as I do every week, getting ready to preach a sermon. Is that it? Is my great contribution to the world, what one preacher called, these “puffs of air?”
I really struggled with that. Why am I not moving my family to some needy part of the world? Am I going to be content to let the bulk of my life be spent using my hands to turn pages and type words rather than digging wells? Is that a life well spent?
Yet by the end of the week, I was comforted by a simple thought. These puffs of air can be multiplied many times over into thousands of God glorify actions.
Preaching is like seed that’s liberally thrown over a field. A lot of it fails to connect. Yet every now and then, it hits it’s mark, falling on good ears and a soft heart where the seed takes root and produces fruit a hundredfold. A preacher’s prayer is that the Spirit would take his meager words and intangible puffs of air and multiply it thousands of tangible deeds. Every Sunday, the preacher is standing in the pulpit with five loaves and two fish looking out at a crowd unsure how on earth they will all get fed. Yet God is faithful. He multiplies. He feeds. He causes words to stick. He causes the heart to ignite. He causes faith to be born. He makes fruit grow.
One man speaks. A hundred ears hear. Thousands of actions result.
By the end of the week, I was encouragingly reminded that right now God has called me to labor in preaching. Through these puffs of air, He can accomplish infinitely more through the obedience of Seven Mile Road’s saints than my single life. I am not the body of Christ. I am a fingernail. And I am glad.