“Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory…He who enjoys it wields a power more durable than a great king. He is an independent force in the world. Abandoned by his party, betrayed by his friends, stripped of his offices, whoever can command this power is still formidable.” _Winston S. Churchill, The Scaffolding of Rhetoric, 1898
As a pastor it was important to me to have a time and place in the worship service for people to pray. I usually always gave an “invitation” for people to come forward and pray at the altar. My invitations were not high pressured or manipulative but I did want to give people the chance to come forward for I am convinced that lives can be altered at the altar by a loving and merciful God.
At my last pastorate, I inherited a beautiful sanctuary to conduct services for the congregation I served and at the front was a spacious area that provided several altars for people to kneel and pray at.
But after being there awhile I learned, but for one man, I would not have had that opportunity.
The story told to me was that at one of the last planning meetings for building the new sanctuary there was an intense debate on whether or not to include the altars in the new sanctuary. The motive was admirable, some wanted to make more room for seating and it was thought that the altars would take up too much space.
The debate went on for some time until one of the older men in the church – a quiet man, a man of few words, a man who did most of his talking by quietly living a life of impeccable integrity – rose to speak.
His name was Faris Caston and he said, “Brothers, we are going to have altars in our new sanctuary.”
End of debate.
And that’s how I came to have altars to invite worn, weary, wounded, and worried people to a place of refuge where things could be altered by a loving and merciful God.
Faris Caston illustrates an important lesson… There are moments when everyone must speak up.
The ONE THING for today:
One can talk too much, but one can also not talk enough.