I wasn't always a preacher. I wasn't even always much interested in religion. I was taken to Sunday School as a child by my parents, but I got into a lot of trouble because I acted up in class--being by nature too energetic and talkative. I remember being terrified by my dad's threat to take a belt to me because he had heard one time too often that I was misbehaving in Sunday School. And, with two brothers in the same class, I didn't have much chance of getting away with a self-defensive lie.
And, being a preacher was the last thing I wanted to be when I grew up.
But, I also remember getting a Bible as a reward for consistent attendance in Sunday School (which meant that my folks were consistent in making me go). And I remember deciding one day that I would read it. It didn't take long for me to get tired of that commitment. So, I'm really not much different than most of you who are reading this. The Bible remained a closed book to me for years.
I did. But it was not a change I was looking to make. When I got into my mid-teens, my folks gave up trying to make Sunday School something I would like. They simply quit making me go. I did, however, continue to go sporadically because there were some cute girls that went to some of the churches in town. I went from this church to that one to be with some of these young ladies. As God would have it, one Sunday I ended up in a church that took the message of the Bible seriously enough to make it the main book of study (most churches don't do this--and still have the audacity to call themselves churches!). That morning I heard, and understood for the first time, that I, Darrel Cline, could have eternal life as a gift from God. So, I received it, because I believed it.
Now, understand me. I didn't get eternal life because I had been good (since when is chasing girls a legitimate motive for going to church?). I didn't get eternal life because I decided to do better (I had made enough resolutions to behave to know that I wasn't going to be better). I didn't get eternal life because I had attended Sunday School for years (if my folks hadn't made me go, I never would have gone). I didn't get eternal life by being baptized into a church (though that had happened to me also). Nor did I get eternal life because I was looking for it.
Frankly, I got eternal life because I happened (in the hidden providence of God) to be in a Sunday School class one day and heard that Jesus Christ had died for my sins (all of them) and had promised that whosoever believed in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). For some reason, unknown to me, that day it clicked, the light came on and I believed what I heard. Since salvation is by faith, I was saved.
So, now I am a preacher. Why? Because eternal life is good enough to share.
How about you? Do you have eternal life? If not, it's yours for the believing. If so, are you sharing it?