Sunday, July 5, 2009
Zoar figured rather prominently in the Biblical story. Not as well known as some places mentioned in the Bible, it became a refuge for Lot when brimstone was about to fall on Sodom and Gomorrah. Actually, it was destined for destruction as well, but spared the fate of sister cities because Lot asked the Lord to deliver him to it safely. Literally translated it means "A little place." The Zoar Church, one of three churches on the Stapleton Charge, was as I remember it a little place. Though not sure, I would imagine those naming the church thought of Zoar being not a little place, but a place of refuge, hope, and salvation as it had been in the days of Lot.
I have often said that it would be a good thing if every preacher could go first to Zoar or to a church like it. I have made the comment not because it was my first appointment, but because it was a place where I learned the value and the importance of having people in the pews praying for the preacher in the pulpit. I have been in the presence of some devout folks in my days of wandering from one church to another, but never were there two like Mrs. Zeevie and Mrs. Estelle. They were more holiness than Methodists. When they prayed and they did a lot of it, heaven listened. When I stood to preach on those Sunday mornings at Zoar, I knew when I saw those two that they had invested time in praying for what I was about to do. Whatever success I have had as a preacher, I owe to those two and folks like them along the way who have chosen prayer as the tool of improvement for their preacher.
I suppose it could be said after decades of preaching that I am a more skilled and experienced preacher than I was in those days, maybe even some Sundays, a better preacher. But, I also know even more than I did then how much the praying of others makes what I seek to do for God a thing of blessing. When my preaching has been a blessing, it has surely not been so much about what I bring to the pulpit as it has been the prayers of folks like those two from Zoar and the work of the Holy Spirit.