>Tonight I was horrified.
Recently, I had joined a Toastmasters Club that meets every Tuesday evening here in Twin Falls, ID. As an educator, I realize the importance of communication, so I decided to work on the areas I need most to improve upon: writing (of which I work on it here at my blog) and public speaking (of which I practice at the Toastmaster’s Club).
Tonight I was scheduled to speak for the first time. Yes, I had my ice-breaker, but that really doesn’t count. Last week I was given the topic of “Eternity” to write on, and I was to be ready tonight to give my speech.
I wish I could say that I worked all week on it, but I can’t. With classes to prep for, jobs to do, and my mother in the hospital, I didn’t get to start on it until Sunday evening. When I did start it, I poured hours in on the project. I wanted to do the very best. Yes, we do have what is called a “Blue Pencil” Award which is given to the best speaker of the night, but I wasn’t focusing on that. I really believed that God gave me an opportunity to speak and I was praying real hard that He would use this presentation.
As usual, there were two speakers for tonight. The first speaker was Susan Ray Schmidt. She just recently authored a book entitled, His Favorite Wife, which is her story of how she escaped Mormon polygamy. It’s an excellent book and if you have the time, I highly recommend it. Susan got up first, and gave an gripping speech on what she went through as a wife to a Mormon polygamist. Her presentation was flawless and the material she spoke on was riveting.
After Susan was done, it was my turn. I had practiced and practiced for hours on my speech and to be honest, I thought it wasn’t half bad! I had an opening story, my points flowed and I could be heard all the way in the back of the room. Like I said earlier, my biggest prayer was that God would have used my speech to His glory, and that it would influence others for Jesus Christ. This was all I could think about. I prayed before the speech, I prayed after the speech, and I trusted the Lord to use me how He saw fit.
At the very end of the meeting, the “Blue Pencil” award was given out, and it went to Susan! She really did a great job, and she graciously exclaimed that she thought I deserved it too.
What happened next horrified me! One of the fellow toastmasters in a joking way, made the statement, “Yes, and John thinks so too!” I know this man. He’s a kind person and yet he loves a good joke. But I was still grieved. You see the problem was not the statement that he made, but the very fact is that he was partially right!
Yes, I did want to be used by God! Yes, I wanted to do the very best I could! yet, deep down in this wretched heart, there was a small portion that really did want to win the award! And this is what made me want to throw up!
God’s Word says,
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Tonight, I did my best, but I am going to work on getting better. I will need to prep longer, and memorize more of my speech than I had this time. But the one thing I am not quite sure on how to do is to purify my motives. Only through Christ and His power will I be able to succeed.