LET ME BE SPIRITUAL Andy Hollifield 1-7-19
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
I have always considered myself average or slightly above or below at almost everything I do. I am not saying that boastfully. If I am terrible at something, even with repeated effort (such as baseball), I know when to quit. The old saying, “Jack of all trades and master of none” is pretty accurate for most stuff I do. There are only two things that I have considered myself as good at as anybody I know. One was songwriting but I now have friends that are far better than me. The other is driving. I drove professionally for over 25 years and still do quite a bit in the ministry. A lot of the dull, boring, and monotonous safety driving videos I was forced to repeatedly sit through and endure over the years have served me well. I catch myself still swinging wide making turns, looking as far ahead as possible, checking all side roads and intersections as I approach them, and constantly checking my mirrors. Those videos I hated have given me the ability I have today.
I said all of that to say this; we should strive to be the best we can be at everything we do for the Lord. Just as those videos helped make me a better driver and kept me from hurting myself or others, study and practice will enhance the abilities God has given us. There are some things, regardless of how much you may practice, you will always be average or mediocre at. Playing piano or other instruments are some of those things for me. Regardless of how much I practice, I have accepted the fact that I am average at best and probably below average. I began to think about that one day and also about my preaching. I have always envied those men that could take a word or two or maybe a verse or two and just milk it and bring out far more than I ever saw in his scripture. With those things in mind, I began to pray and just ask God to let me be spiritual. There will always be those that are more eloquent and knowledgable than I am, and those that have a better memory and a mind like a computer. I am thankful for them and I am blessed by their ability. As I thought about all of this I came to the conclusion that it is more important to be spiritual rather than to be great. A lot of people are blessed to be both but I am not one of them.
With all of this in mind and being humbled by my lack of ability, I just began to ask the Lord to let me be spiritual in everything I do for him. Back in 1986 when I started preaching, there were a lot of men that didn’t have a lot of education but had a touch of God on them and you knew they had spent time in prayer just seeking his guidance. Those are the ones that impressed me the most. I have never wanted to “perform” as a preacher friend of mine once said, but I just want to be used by God. According to the scriptures I read about spiritual things, the one thing I discovered is that I can’t make myself spiritual. I can work and make myself better at what I do but being spiritual is a gift from God. You cannot receive it with pride and arrogance but only through prayer and humbleness of heart. Ability doesn’t determine spirituality. I recall a preacher in my church when I was about six to eight years old, that couldn’t hardly read a word. My dad and this man’s brother-in-law would each sit on the isle end of the bench and whisper the words to him as he tried to read them. I recall vividly how that after he finished reading his scripture, that he preached with a Holy Ghost boldness that was even memorable to a young boy. The thing I probably remember the most is that when he would go back and reread his scripture or read a different scripture, he could read better than me with no help. I figured out that it was just due to God anointing him with the Holy Ghost. That made me desire what he had.
I also remember from that same church, the day I was baptized. A preacher named Garson Burleson was helping my pastor baptize several of us in the creek that day. The lady that went in right before me came up from under the water and hugged Mr. Burleson and caused him to stumble. He was pulled out of the water not breathing, eyes rolled back in his head, having suffered a heart attack stopping his heart. Being next in line, I watched intently as my pastor knelt on both knees beside him, with his nose nearly touching the ground, and prayed like I had never heard anyone pray before. By the time the ambulance got there, Mr. Burleson was looking around and talking coherently, and asked my pastor if they had “got them all soused under” I believe was how it was told to me. Seeing that at such a young age showed me the power of God manifested in a way I had never seen and have never forgotten.
Also in my youth, I remember a lady name Mrs. McMahan from over in New Bridge. She would often come to singings with her husband Leonard. I remember they knew a lot of songs but, being old and with crackling voices, weren’t the greatest singers I had ever heard. They were good enough but when Mrs. McMahan would begin to be blessed by the Lord and start crying and clapping her hands, there was a presence of the Holy Ghost that would sit down on the congregation and Vestal Goodman couldn’t have outdone her. Those are some of the experiences I remember seeing the importance of the presence of God’s Spirit.
Nothing against education cause the Lord knows I soak it in from men that have it. I have also been privileged to hear some of the best gospel singers that have ever come out of these mountains or anywhere else. But the ability of those men and the talent of those singers could never hold a candle to the moving of the Holy Ghost in the services. We are living in the days of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 when folks “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” The sound of the singers and the beat of the music have replaced the presence of God in singing as well. It is more important than ever before that we have God’s presence and guidance in all that we do. The doctrine of God hasn’t changed and neither has he. John 4:24 says that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” That hasn’t changed either. So in these last days I will continue to try to improve at the things God has given me to do but my prayer will always be; “Let me be spiritual.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!