I once had an eighty-something year old seminary prof, Dr. Roy Beamon, who taught systematic theology and could work academically in over 20 languages. He was academically brilliant. He could impress the brightest and best of scholars. Yet, he told his students that the greatest compliment he ever received as a minister of the gospel was not from some academic theologian or from another pastor or from a deacon at his church but was from a 6 year old little girl.
After a Sunday message, she told him, "I like the way you preach." He said, "Thank you, sweetheart. Why do you like the way I preach?" She replied, "Because I can understand what you say!"
Then he told us, "Gentlemen, study to show yourself approved unto God and then preach so that a little child can understand you. Ministry is not a place to impress people with your brilliance. Do your academic homework, but keep it simple."
I have tried to remember that. Keep it simple enough so that a child can get it.
This past Sunday, a CVCer encouraged me big time with a thoughtful note about his daughter. I wrote back, "Thank you so much for sharing what your precious daughter got out of the message. Simply amazing. I am so humbled and honored that God would use me in this way."
Here's what he wrote to me.
I wanted to reach out following the services yesterday. I played piano [on the worship team] and my wife and three children attended the 3rd service. Our younger children are usually in their Sunday School classrooms. But [the weekend] I guess my wife felt like they should see their dad leading worship on Father’s Day. So, they all stayed in the main service.
My daughter, Jaime (9 yrs old), has been really struggling with worry, especially regarding her health and the reality that we all die eventually. (I know, it's really heavy stuff for a 9 year old to be worrying about, especially since she is a vibrant, healthy young lady.) She absorbs any information at school regarding kids with illness and disease. We spend many nights praying with her and affirming her that she is healthy. I also have been trying to teach her God's truths regarding life, death and sickness.
Well, last night she basically re-taught your message to me. She started, “You know, Dad, dying is gain.” I asked, "How so?" She then went on for several minutes highlighting several truths from your message, "You like oranges here, right?" I said, "Yes." She stated, "Then you’ll really love oranges in heaven." She went on about how my muscles get sore here but in heaven I won’t ever be sore again. She asked, "You like food here? Well, it’s nothing like it will be there. You’ll never be sick, sad, tired or hurt!" She went on and on about how we’ll have new bodies and a new home.
My eyes tear up thinking about the confidence she had as she shared and "preached" God's truths to me, her dad.
I just want to encourage you and to say “great job.” When a person can teach something they just heard that morning, it means they’ve owned it for themselves. If my 9 year old daughter could receive and apply that message then I’m sure there were many more lives impacted by God’s truth on Sunday, including mine.
This compliment from a young dad's daughter is one of the greatest encouragements I could ever receive. I am so thankful to God that my words helped her heart.
It's a further reminder for me to hear and heed those words from Dr. Roy Beamon. Do your homework, but keep it simple enough for a child.
Question: What are ways you seek to keep it simple enough for a child?