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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Shipyard Preacher

1 Corinthians 16:13 (New International Version)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
God calls all sorts of people to minister and preach the Gospel, no matter where they came from or what they have done.

Glasgow, Scotland, used to have a magnificent shipyard industry on the River Clyde. Thousands of men were employed in the building of some of the biggest warships and ocean liners in the world. From all over the docks, flashes of light could be seen as the riveters and welders worked on the hulls of the great ships.

On Friday afternoons, when most of the workforce was paid, thousands of men would walk out of the gates to either go to the pubs and spend their wages, or head home to be with their families, possibly buying them a fish and chips supper for dinner. As these men walked out of the shipyard gates, a man, with his own portable platform, was preaching the Gospel to the huge mass of workers. Most of the men walked by, some jeered and some cheered, some hurled insults and called the preacher everything under the sun.

It was an amazing ministry to watch and, on some rare occasions, the preacher was able to reach into the heads and hearts of a few men. He had been a shipyard worker himself, so he knew of their hardships, addictions, and struggles with life. Jesus had changed him, so he wanted to help other men make that transformation. It was a courageous, yet often humiliating ministry. But every Friday, the preacher was there giving God’s message to thousands of men who had no time for faith.

The Church of Scotland was approached by some people and asked if they would ordain the Shipyard preacher. Sadly, they turned him down. He didn't have the right academic qualifications, or the privileges of seminary training. This didn't bother the preacher. He just kept turning up on Fridays to preach the Gospel. His strength was in the Lord, and not in an ecclesiastical certificate that proclaimed him to be an official minister of the church. God calls all sorts of people to minister, pastor, and preach in His Name.

Perhaps you are being led by God to start a new ministry in your church. Perhaps God is calling you to do something in Christ’s name for your community. Maybe you don’t feel qualified to start or accomplish it. Remember this: if God truly calls you, He believes you can get it done.

Dear Lord we are all so different and we each have various gifts, talents, and skills. Sometimes you call us out of our comfort zones and specialized areas to do something beautiful and completely unexpected for You. We pray for courage today to respond to Your call and give us the strength to do all You ask of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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