Rev. Mark H. Creech on Why Encouraging Others is So Important

There is a story (supposedly true) concerning a preacher who read about a character in the Gospels called, “Simon the Leaper.” He imagined all sorts of things that this leaper character might have done – leaping from mountain to mountain, hill to hill. And he preached a sermon on it. Then someone brought it to his attention that the man’s name was “Simon the Leper.” To which the preacher replied, “I don’t see the need to throw away a good sermon just because of a difference in pronunciation.”

If that sounds preposterous, allow me to tell you a similar story that is unquestionably true. The first two sermons I ever preached were during an evangelistic event in my hometown. Most of the people who came to the meeting, however, were fellow church members and supporters. I was only 15 years old with God’s call on my life, still a babe in the Lord, but on fire for Christ.

In my second sermon, I preached about Christ’s Passion, and I told the audience that night about the “scorching” of Jesus. Uh huh, that’s right. Never mind the fact that the Scriptures say that Jesus was “scourged” and not “scorched.” I imagined all sorts of things and explained the way I thought the Romans might have done it. They burned him with a hot iron. They put heat to him in some way. They “scorched” him, I vehemently proclaimed.

I never once knew my error until I discovered it on my own while having my private devotions two years later.

When I learned of my grievous gaffe, it brought me to tears.  It wasn’t so much my embarrassment that produced my emotional response (although I was mortified); instead it was the loving way people reacted to my blathering blunder. None of them ever said a word to me about it. They knew what I had done, but they didn’t want me to become discouraged. That evening everyone was too busy telling me that I was going to be the next great Billy Graham.

If people had scoffed at my ignorance, I was so tender at the time it might have overwhelmed me to the point of quitting. The Lord, however, knew my nature and graciously hid the lapse from me until I was mature enough to handle it. Moreover, if my church family and Christian friends hadn’t been committed to encouraging me….well???? I certainly wouldn’t be able to laugh at myself about it today. Nor would I be writing about it.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech