Monthly Archives: March 2012

I found this in The Teaching Ministry of the Pulpit by Craig Skinner a few years ago.  I hope you find it as funny as I always do.

Wanted: Baptist Minister for Growing Church

A real challenge for the right man!  Opportunity to become better acquainted with people!

Applicant must offer experience as: shop worker, office manager, educator (all levels, including college), artist, salesman, diplomat, writer, theologian, politician, Boy Scout leader, children’s worker, minor league athlete, psychologist, vocational counselor, psychiatrist, funeral director, wedding consultant, master of ceremonies, circus clown, missionary, social worker.  Helpful but not essential: experience as butcher, baker, cowboy, Western Union messenger.

Must know all about problems of birth, marriage, and death; also conversant with the latest theories and practices in areas like pediatrics, economics, and nuclear science.

Right man will hold firm views on every topic, but is careful not to upset people who disagree.  Must be forthright but flexible; returns criticism and back-biting with Christian love and forgiveness.

Should have outgoing, friendly disposition at all times; should be captivating speaker and intent listener; will pretend he enjoys hearing women talk.

Education must be beyond Pd.D. requirements, but always concealed in homespun modesty and folksy talk.  Able to sound learned at times, but most of the time talks and acts like good-old-Joe.  Familiar with literature read by average congregation.

Must be willing to work long hours; subject to call any time day or night; adaptable to sudden interruptions.  Will spend at least 25 hours preparing sermon; additional 10 hours reading books and magazines.

Applicant’s wife must be both stunning and plain; smartly attired but conservative in appearance; gracious and able to get along with everyone, even women.  Must be willing to work in church kitchen, teach Sunday School, babysit, run multilith machine, wait tables, never listen to gossip, never become discouraged.

Applicant’s children must be exemplary in conduct and character; well behaved, yet basically no different from other children; decently dressed.

Opportunity for applicant to live close to work.  Furnished home provided; open-door hospitality enforced.  Must be ever mindful the house does not belong to him.

Directly responsible for views and conduct to all church members and visitors; not confined to direction or support from any one person.  Salary not commensurate with experience or need; no overtime pay.  All replies kept confidential.  Anyone applying will undergo full investigation to determine sanity.

From: Crusader (Valley Forge, PA: American Baptist Convention, March 1962)

Found in: Skinner, Craig. The Teaching Ministry of the Pulpit. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973.

I have an uncle who is famous in our family for his “myself” jokes.  He once wrote a song with lines like, “rather be around myself than the Mardi Gras.”  I don’t remember the line before, but it rhymed with Mardi Gras.

My uncle is funny (he might be the funniest person I know), but self-centeredness is not.  We all have known people at the center of their own universe.  They want to suck us into their gravity.

As Christians we understand that God is the center and we are not.  Or, that’s what we say.

In practice, we often put ourselves ahead of God.  In fact, we do this with the Bible.

I recently heard a famous Southern Baptist pastor preach about the story of David and Goliath.  I had heard this man before and I winced when he announced his text.

His point was this—defeating your giants is just a stone’s throw away.

I actually thought, “Ugh, here we go.”

I sat and listened to an engaging sermon about having courage to face the giants of life.  Nothing the preacher said was wrong.  The man believes the Bible and has sound theology.  But, the sermon had nothing to do with what was going on in the text.

I, of course, do not know everything about 1 Samuel 17.  Some say that it is a picture of Christ.  The New Testament doesn’t make that claim for this particular story, though David was certainly a type of Christ.  So I’ll leave that for further study.

What I do know is that this story is about David’s righteous anger toward Goliath’s mocking of God’s army.

David said in 1 Samuel 17:26, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

You know the rest of the story.

David was not “facing a giant” in his life.  He was honoring God by fighting those who opposed God’s people.

This story is not about us.  It is about God.

I attended a preaching conference, in Olive Branch, MS, the Monday after the men’s meeting.  The first speaker, a theology professor from The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, referred to this very story.

He talked about how David’s story fit into the overall plan of God.  He also made a statement that I had never heard about this one-side fight.  He said that if David had not been filled with the Holy Spirit in 1 Samuel 16, then facing Goliath would not have been brave, it would have been stupid.  It was quite a different perspective.

The Bible has many commands and encouragements for us.  We need to know them and obey them.  The gift of the Holy Spirit allows this.  Let’s be careful, however, to make sure we know the difference between a story that is about us and a story that is about God.

Otherwise, we have a “myself” relationship with God.