As a parent, grandparent, teacher, or church volunteer, you from time to time experience "teachable moments" with young children. These are those special, unplanned, serendipitous situations that provide an opportunity to reinforce a concept or to help a child see or experience something in a new way.
Sunday morning I experienced a "preachable moment." It wasn't one of those "Oh, there's a good sermon illustration" experiences- though you might be surprised when those can come! Instead, my preachable moment was a new experience for me, the preacher, right in the middle of the sermon!
The message came from John's account of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. I was attempting to make the point that we need to be careful about how we interpret the stories of others' lives- most of us have heard that this woman was a prostitute, but there is no such indication in the text. I cautioned that we should be careful not to jump to conclusions about another's life story- like the woman, he/she could have simply had a "hard life," not necessarily a "bad life."
I sensed immediately that something happened. And then it dawned on me- we were in a room full of people whose story had been misunderstood, or even misrepresented. Jesus' refusal to condemn the woman was not just a model for our compassionate response to others- it was an offer of grace to us!
Thanks for teaching the preacher something last week!