In the days of John Wesley, lay preachers with limited education would sometimes conduct the church services. One man used Luke 19:21 as his text. "Lord, I feared Thee, because Thou are an austere man." Not knowing the word austere, he thought the text spoke of "an oyster man."
He explained how a diver must grope in dark, freezing water to retrieve oysters. In his attempt, he cuts his hands on the sharp edges of the shells. After he obtains an oyster, he rises to the surface, clutching it "in his torn and bleeding hands." The preacher added, "Christ descended from the glory of heaven into ....sinful human society, in order to retrieve humans and bring them back up with Him to the glory of heaven. His torn and bleeding hands are a sign of the value He has placed on the object of His quest."
Afterwards, a number of people professed to trust in Christ. Later that night, someone came to Wesley to complain about unschooled preachers who were too ignorant even to know the meaning of the texts they were preaching on. The Oxford-educated Wesley simply said, "Never mind. The Lord got a dozen oysters tonight."
Our best may not always measure up to the standards of others. But God takes our inadequacies and humble efforts and uses them for His glory.
- Geoff Thomas
This story is obviously not an excuse for inaccurate use and handling of the Scriptures; but it does tell us that God graciously overrules our imperfections and flaws and uses His Word whenever and with whomever He chooses.
- Mack T.