What happens when preachers, speakers, and teachers run short of time? What should we do when we have time for either our private devotions or our lesson preparation, but not both?
On those occasions, wise servants remember Psalm 23:5: My cup runs over. Effective ministry is merely the overflow of our personal appointments with the Lord. He’s more concerned for our walk with Him than our work with Him. If we guard the former, He’ll take care of the latter. To put it differently we’re either pipelines or we’re just puddles.
Missionary author Isobel Kuhn learned this while a student at Moody Bible Institute. She was invited to give a devotional message during her Junior-Senior party, but she was running short of time. It finally boiled down to a half-hour at supper, and Isobel was faced with a choice: Should she go down and eat at mealtime? Should she skip supper and try to prepare her devotional message? Should she put God first and give that half-hour to Him?
The bell rang, and her roommates left for the dining hall. For a moment, Isobel wavered, but then she threw herself on her knees, overcome with fatigue, and whispered, “Lord, I choose You!” A sense of God’s presence lifted her spirits and seemed to restore her strength. As she half knelt, half lay there by her bed, praying and meditating, certain thoughts came to her mind, devotional truths for her own soul took shape.
She later recalled, Quietly, but point by point, He outlined for me the devotional message I needed to close that evening’s program. It was an unforgettable experience and an unforgettable lesson.
When time came to leave the room, she slipped into the party, and at the end of a Dutch scene, she shared the simple message God had given her. It seemed perfectly appropriate to the occasion and much needed. Such a hush came over that festive scene that I knew He had spoken, and I was content.
Twenty years passed, Isobel made a return visit to Moody Bible Institute while on furlough from her work in China. As it happened, it was the day of the Junior-Senior party. As she toured her alma mater, she heard one of the workers say, “One Junior-Senior party stands out in my memory. I forget who led it but it was a Dutch scene and the devotional message blessed my soul. I’ve never forgotten it.”I was thrilled through and through, Isobel later wrote. Of course I did not spoil it by telling her who led that devotional. In God’s perfect working, the instrument is forgotten. It is the blessing of Himself that is remembered.