I was preparing for Sunday morning’s service, which is an amazing service in which we will baptise 3 believers by immersion and also share bread and wine in communion. I was praying and trying to work out what I should speak about. A phrase came to mind and I started to wonder whether there was a passage in the Bible towards which I was being led. In particular it felt like I should be looking at a parable told by Jesus – but which one?
I consulted one of my big reference books that lists all of Jesus’ parables and was drawn to the parable of the Mustard Seed. It’s one of the ones that we find in Matthew, Mark and Luke. I looked at my Bible – first in Mark, then Matthew, then Luke.
I should point out at this stage that we are preaching our way through Luke’s gospel in our morning services at the moment.
So, back to the story. As I looked at Luke’s gospel I realised that this parable appears in chapter 13, which I thought we would soon be exploring in our series. I was miffed because I thought I was hearing what God wanted but as we would be looking at this passage in a couple of weeks’ time it did not feel right to speak on it this week as well.
I then consulted the preaching plan that we have prepared up to Christmas. “Oh,” thought I, surprised. “We have already worked out a passage for the service on Sunday.” I had completely forgotten that.
So I turned the the passage and, yes you are ahead of me, it is the passage with the parable I was considering, and also including an encounter Jesus had with someone that further reflects the thought that began this whole process (and which I had not had before).
At this point I almost heard a snigger from on high as I realised I was the (willing and glad) victim of a divine prank. He’d known all along that this was what I should be preaching on (the plan was prepared weeks ago) and led me on an exciting and then disappointing journey of discovery only to find that he had led me back to where we had started. I had to admit that I had been well and truly ‘got’ and simply uttered the words of appreciation: “Nice one!”
Be blessed, be a blessing.