American history is filled with phrases that are rich in meaning. Perhaps you’ve heard: “There’s gold in them thar hills” and “there’s millions in it.” These originate from the pen of Mark Twain and his character, Mulberry Sellers.
The man behind the literary reference is Dr. Matthew Fleming Stephenson. “M.F.” Stephenson was working as the assayer for the Dahlonega Gold Mint (in north Georgia) in the 1840’s. News arrived of the California gold rush as miners were getting lesser results in the region surrounding the mint. Many were contemplating the call to “go west, young man, go west.”
Stephenson was trying to persuade miners from leaving. In an address to about 200 men on the town square, he assured them that the hills within sight were where they needed to continue with their best efforts. Hence, Twain would later use artistic license and write, “There’s gold in them thar hills” and “there’s millions in it.”
Pastor, there’s no need for you to travel to a faraway place for newfound revelations and riches. All you need has already been provided. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
Many of those blessings are nuggets that come from the experiences of your peers. If we were sitting in a local coffee shop, these are the three gold nuggets that I’d share with you.
1) You have a clear calling with distinct gifts to fulfill it. Stay on your path and give your peers the freedom to do the same.
Go back in your personal history with Christ and reexamine your calling into vocational ministry. Take note that the gifts which He has given you are specifically designed for your particular calling.
Your peers might not understand your path, and you might not agree with theirs. Who are you to judge another man’s servant (see Romans 14:4)? The One to whom we must all give an account will oversee those whose methods and motives you question. The best place for your energies is in fulfilling your call.
2) Your primary task is communion, not communication. The best communication you provide will be the result of your communion with Christ.
I’m a preacher with a gift for teaching, and I love a well-structured presentation of the Gospel. I also like lessons and sermons that have a logical flow. I appreciate alliteration, three-point outlines, and other homiletical devices. Nevertheless, pastor, our primary calling is not to be a professional speaker.
Communion with Christ, devotional time in His Word, fellowship in the Spirit, my time with God – the descriptive phrases could go on and on, but you get my drift. Your daily task is to know Him and the power of His resurrection (see Philippians 3:10). Godly confidence in preaching will come out of the richness of your relationship with the Lord.
3) You can’t make disciples out of dead people. Therefore, bring the life-giving power of the Gospel into every sermon.
Take a quick mental review of your congregation. Many have made a profession of faith. However, there are those within your gatherings whose faith needs to be revived. Also, there are some that have never heard a clear Spirit-revealed presentation of the Gospel. They could be following some self-made form of moralistic religion. These two groups cannot be discipled.
The solution is to bring the Gospel, as often as possible, into as many of your sermons as possible. It alone has the power to bring life. Indeed, it is the power of God unto salvation (see Romans 1:16-17).
There you have my three gold nuggets. Now let’s grab a coffee refill and get ready to invest our riches right back into His Kingdom.
“Ev’ry promise in the book is mine,
Ev’ry chapter, ev’ry verse, ev’ry line;
All are blessings of his love divine,
Ev’ry promise in the book is mine.”