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home : religion : religion January 23, 2019

12/22/2018 12:04:00 AM
Humiliation Through Misinformation By Name Association!

Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

I remember the humiliating event as if it had happened yesterday, even though it took place over 35 years ago. I was attending a Baptist college that helped young preachers (and old ones too!) in the preparation for ministry. The college offered classes in biblical languages, theology, Christian education, and other subjects that would help a person grow in their Christian life. It was a great time in my life when I developed friendships that I hold dear even till this day!

However, not every experience brought joy and encouragement. I believe a person can learn something positive from even a bad situation. As I reflect upon an event that happened so long ago, I am reminded that bad memories resurface from time to time to keep us humble and to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. One memory I have while attending college took place when I accepted an opportunity to preach. The religion department contacted different Baptist associations with the request to allow ministerial students an opportunity to preach. This would give the student a chance to interact with a pastor and preach to a congregation. Afterwards, the pastor would give encouragement and helpful bits of wisdom to the young preacher. Even though that is the plan, things don’t always go according to the plan!

Jackie D.

On one occasion I was sent to preach in a neighboring association. The college would send, in advance, the name of the student coming to preach. Here is where things took a turn for the worse for me. When the preacher announced a week before my arrival that Vince Hefner was coming to preach, the problem started. It wasn’t a bad problem, but a problem brought about by a misunderstanding. You see, back then there was a famous preacher and writer named Vance Havner. Some of the older members of the congregation thought Vance Havner was coming to preach. They called their friends and neighbors and told them to come to church for a special treat. That Sunday people showed up to hear the “World famous” Vance Havner but wound up hearing the Polk County infamous chicken fighter turned preacher. I had no idea what was going on in the church until a few minutes before the service. I was standing next to a water fountain minding my own business and attempting to look pastoral while the pastor was talking to one of his members. I spotted an elderly lady walking toward my direction and I could tell by her facial expression that she had something to say. She walked up to me and sternly said, “Are you the preacher this morning?” I replied, “Yes ma’am I am,” and I awaited her response. I thought she was going to say something positive and encouraging. Brother, I was wrong. Her face contorted as though she had just taken a bite off a dill pickle and she yelled out, “I came to Church this morning to hear Vance Havner preach, and it’s just you!” Then she stormed out the back door of the church. I want to say that was the first time I had seen someone leave a church mad, but it wasn’t my last!

How do you handle humiliation? 1 Peter 4:16 says, “But is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name.” My name may rhyme with someone famous, but I want my name to be identified with Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us it is a privilege to be called by His name. At the same time, I don’t want to live my life in such a way as to humiliate Jesus by my actions. How about you? Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!

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