“David, I’m so judgmental. I’m just so judgmental of others. I need Jesus. I love Jesus. He can change my heart, because I’m very judgmental of those who are not like me.”
And there were tears that ran down the cheeks into a beautiful smile. Those tears and that smile belonged to Judith. Judith is one of my church members here in Kingscliff. She has four sons who are named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I’m not kidding. And these boys are lovely, wonderful, and polite young men. They are a credit to their mom and dad and to their God.
I know I’m probably not supposed to have “favorite” church members, but Judith is one of my favorites. The sincerity, joy, and genuine love that flows from this woman are both an inspiration and a rebuke to me. Judith is a woman who knows Jesus, and it shows.
I had just finished preaching a particularly challenging sermon. I knew that many in the congregation would struggle to hear and apply what I’d said. But I’d said it anyway. I came down from the platform and walked to the back of the church. That’s when Judith greeted me with tears, confession, and that beautiful smile.
I had preached, but Jesus had spoken.
I was immediately rebuked. The truth was my own heart had not been as touched and moved as had Judith’s. I thought it was a good sermon—content, delivery, exegetical soundness—but Judith had encountered Jesus. He had put His finger on her need and she had surrendered to the Great Physician’s diagnosis. But she had received His medicine and cure too.
Well, I had just preached a sermon. You know, done my job. Created and clicked through my slides. Made my appeal. Said my closing prayer.
And, honestly, I thought it was pretty alright.
But when I saw Judith’s tear-filled smile, I knew that I had missed all that God was offering that morning at church. The preacher was preached to by the woman who’d been preached to by the preacher who had just preached.
Jesus wants more of you. And more of me. He wants to meet us and heal us. He wants to save us. Because it’s not enough to be near Him or to be associated with Him or to work for Him.
We need to be His.
Like Judith is.