My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me
The story is told of a famous actor who was at a social gathering one evening. A clergyman asked him to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor, a famous and eloquent star of stage and screen, agreed on one condition -- that the clergyman, a man in his eighties who had served God faithfully and humbly for half a century, would also recite the Psalm.
The minister agreed, and the actor began his recitation.
Oh, the words came like beautiful music, and everyone was enthralled as he gave his magnificent presentation. When he finished, there was a hearty applause.
Then the minister stood. He was not eloquent; he was not gifted in that way. The preacher's voice was rough and broken from many years of preaching, and his diction was anything but polished. But as he recited the classic psalm, a holy hush fell over the audience, and tears began to fill their eyes. When he finished, there was no applause. Only silence.
The actor stood to his feet and said, "I have reached your ears, but this man of God has reached your heart." When someone asked the actor what made the difference, he replied, "I know the psalm, but he knows the Shepherd."
We all admire a gift to communicate God's Word like that. He was so in love with God that the Bible
had richly penetrated his heart.
But it was not the minister's natural ability, which he did not have. Coming out of the depths of his heart, the minister's words, though the exact same words as spoken by the actor, had a special anointing of the Holy Spirit
, which made the difference.
God's Word, the Bible, can be read or recited mechanically, sometimes very eloquently, but unless the words carry the anointing of the Holy Spirit they are without life. Jesus said, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63
How can we be assured that our spoken words have the anointing of the Holy Spirit?
Such anointing is something God does as He chooses, but it will help if our hearts are right toward Him, that we have no unconfessed sin in our lives, and that we humbly have no other purpose or agenda but to glorify our Lord. At least then we will qualify as empty vessels for Him to use as He wills, which is all He asks of us.
But the most important thing is that we know the Shepherd.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.