One Sabbath, when I had preached, a man came up to me after church and wanted to talk with me. He was visiting that week because his daughter was in a music group that performed that day. He told me that he works at the state penitentiary and confessed that he had been questioning his ministry with the prisoners there. He said that he had been wondering if what he was doing had any point, and he sounded as though he had been discouraged in his profession, possibly seeking to do something else.
But what he said next showed that the Holy Spirit had been hard at work that morning. When I first began working on my sermon that I titled “Fishers of Men” I had no idea how direct of an impact it would make. He told me that something in the sermon had hit him hard. When I had talked about Luke 4:18-19 and how we should follow Jesus’ example he had taken it to heart, realizing a new purpose and renewing his passion for working with the prisoners. He said that he had never thought about Jesus’ statement that God had sent him “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners” in the way he had that morning. I was excited that he was going to go forth and proclaim a spiritual freedom to the incarcerated.
Later, I ran into the man’s wife, and she told me that he was continually talking about the sermon, and all the depths and intricacies that had so surprised him coming from a young student preacher. I know that the Holy Spirit was working because there is no way that by the power of my own words anything such as this could have taken place. This experience validated his career, and it further cemented my decision to be a pastor. God showed me once again that nothing, but ministry will fulfill my cravings and longings for more than this world has to offer.
Landon Paul Schnabel