14/12/2022 by Rev Doug Walker 0 Comments
Not My Words
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
Not My Words
I’ve been writing a weekly article for our church newsletter and for the Village Voice for a little over three years. It’s surprising to see the number is in excess of 165 articles. Nevertheless, I don’t consider myself to be anything close to a writer! Many times I find myself traveling down the road and scripture pops into my mind, and I write in my own words about what it means to me. On other occasions, I write an article to give sort of a teaser for the upcoming Sunday service message.
My sermon writing follows the same style as my articles. Each and every sermon manuscript I have delivered has been my own words, my own thoughts, and my interpretation of scripture as it is revealed to me through the Holy Spirit. I was told several years ago there are sites on the internet where a pastor in need of a pre-written sermon can go and download a manuscript. I can say with a great deal of satisfaction that I have not downloaded a single message using such a site. I’ve listened to a pastor who does this regularly and it is easy to tell those are not his words.
There are encounters in scripture where we can find such claims that the message they are delivering is “not their words.” I’m not talking about inspiration from the Holy Spirit. I’m referring to encounters when the person (I use this term loosely) tells the recipient, “These are not my words.” You’ve probably already guessed who this is – the Archangel Gabriel.
When Gabriel visited Zechariah to tell him Elizabeth would bare a son, Zechariah said, “How can this be?” Gabriel’s response was, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.” God Himself sent a message to Zechariah and used Gabriel to deliver it.
Gabriel also visited Mary at a time when Elizabeth was about six months pregnant. He said to her, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled, but Gabriel comforted her by saying, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” Each time Gabriel is mentioned in the scripture, he is carrying a message from God to someone on earth. Each and every time, he says in not so many words, “These are not my words.” Gabriel, an Archangel who stands in the presence of God, delivers a wonderful message from God to someone who has found favor in the sight of God.
What message do you have for people during this season? Do you have good news for people, or are you one for not speaking to others? We should all take note of the joy Gabriel must have felt bringing messages from God to people. If we let Him, God will also let us carry His messages to those who need to hear them. It is the season of blessings, so be a blessing and carry the Good News of God’s Word to those who need it!