Last Sunday I had the opportunity to give a sermon at a church near my home. The pastor of this church is taking a 9 week "preaching fast". If you don't enjoy public speaking, you don't know what a sacrifice this is for a pastor. He is using this time to strengthen his personal relationship with God and to watch how the church adapts to not having its figurehead in the pulpit. I admire him for doing this.
Even though I have a lot of friends at this church, I was still kind of nervous beforehand. A young man named Jair sat down to me and introduced himself. He and his wife had come out from Michigan to visit and encourage his grandparents. His grandpa is going to be with Jesus soon.
During the singing I noticed how dry my mouth was getting and knew it would be even more dry when I got up to talk. So I went out to the drinking fountain in the foyer. Jair apparently noticed how nervous I was and as I was walking back to the sanctuary, Jair was coming out. "Hey, can I pray for you?" he asked. Of course I gladly accepted, and he put his hands on my shoulders and prayed a beautiful prayer. First time I’ve ever had anyone do that for me before I spoke. It did seem to calm my nerves (pretty well) too.
The message came out reasonably well. One of the better deliveries I have experienced. (It is amazing to me how messages can come out of the same mouth dry and dead some times and vibrant at other times. Preachers are more dependent on God's empowerment than sometimes thought.)
When we stand before Jesus, I think the pastor and Jair will get the reward for this message. Hebrews 7 gives the principle that "the lesser is blessed by the greater". This is another way of saying "It's more blessed to give than to receive".