A certain church found itself suddenly without a pastor, and a search committee was formed. In due course it received a letter from a man applying for the vacant position. The committee chairman read:
"I am considered to be a good preacher, and I have been a leader in most of the places I have served. I have also done some writing on the side.
"I am over 50 years old, and while my health is not the best, I still manage to get enough work done to please any parish.
"As for references, I am somewhat handicapped. I have never preached anywhere for more than three years. And most of the churches I have preached in have been small, even though they were located in rather large cities. I had to leave some places because my ministry caused riots and disturbances. Even where I stayed, I did not get along too well with other religious leaders, which may influence the kind of references these places will supply. I have also been threatened and physically attacked. I have even gone to jail several times for my preaching.
"I am not particularly good at keeping records. I have to admit I don't even remember all those whom I've baptized. However, if you can use me, I should be pleased to be considered. I feel sure I can bring vitality to your church."
When the chairman finished reading the letter, the committee members were aghast. How could anyone think that a church like theirs would consider a man who was nothing but a troublemaking, absentminded, ex-jailbird? What was his name?
"Well," said the chairman, "the letter is signed Paul."
(Quoted by Richard N. Bolles in Reader's Digest. From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, The Light of His Presence, 1/15/2011)
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