What confidence looks like in the pulpit

In an old radio program, a woman listens as Sherlock Holmes tells her exactly how a crime came about and how he exonerated her fiance’.  At the end, she exclaims, “Oh, Mister Holmes! You are wonderful.” Slight pause, then the master sleuth replies, “Quite!”

I do love to see confidence on display.

As Ali said, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”

A generation ago, after actor Jack Palance won an Oscar for his supporting role in the movie “City Slickers,” his celebrity was revived for a short time. Suddenly, he was in demand for commercials and more movie roles. In an ad for some after shave lotion, I think, this rugged star, by then in his 70s, squinted into the camera and said through his whiskey-voice, “Confidence is sexy. Don’t you think?”

There is something most attractive about confidence.

I love the question–and the incredible back-handed compliment–paid King Hezekiah by the Assyrian general who just could not understand why the ruler of this tiny plot of hilly earth would dare to oppose him when no one else had been able to do so for longer than 10 minutes. “What is this confidence that you have?” (II Kings 18:19)

Let’s you and I so live and work, so preach and pray, so witness and represent Christ that the outside world will wonder about the source of our courage and confidence.

When my pastor enters the pulpit with the message of God, I want him to be confident.  Here is something of what that looks like…

1) He is quietly strong and sweetly bold.

2) He is certain of what Scripture says and solid in the way he proclaims it. (Anything he is uncertain about, he does not proclaim.)

3) He can take criticism because he knows the Lord and knows that he knows Him, and no one’s words can unsettle that relationship. Therefore, he is able to hear from critics and even understand the opposition without caving in to it.

4) He can stop and give, can stoop and serve, and then get up and lead again. The insecure can never be interrupted, questioned, or asked to humble himself.

5) He can laugh at himself. He knows he himself is not his message, but he is only a flawed messenger and that God can even use the imperfections in those He sends. There is no way to describe the incredible peace this gives.

6) He can say no without feeling guilty. He takes his orders from the Lord, not from his so-called employers, and stays close to Him each day.

7) He can rebuke sin, no matter the identity of the perpetrator.  His identity is in Christ. Or, as Paul put it, “For me, to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

We could now fill a few pages with the descriptions of weak insecure pastors who lack confidence. But who wants to read about sniveling, shifting, unstable preachers. God help them to come to Christ and find out who they are in Him, then go forth to live it out in the world.

Our Lord Jesus told His disciples, just before commissioning them, “All authority in Heaven and earth has been given to me….” (Matthew 28:18).

If you’re looking for the ultimate Source of confidence, you can’t beat that: receiving authority from the Living God Himself!

4 thoughts on “What confidence looks like in the pulpit

  1. Amen! It’s easy to have such confidence when you know you have prepared a message that faithfully expounds on God’s word, because your confidence is in the Bible, not yourself!

  2. So, I really love my pastor in that, he is so confident in what he’s doing and saying up there. Pastor Williams always remind us to keep it simply and trust God in all you guys do. Because you have to be able to tell the story with or without notes. What a Biblicist he is. Thank you for this article!

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