Martin Boehm had been chosen the preacher by lot, but this was not an easy task for him.
Boehm lacked confidence in his preaching skills. Indeed, it was written that he would “stammer out a few words and then be obligated to sit down in shame and remorse.”
He agonized over this for months, and after much prayer, came to the realization that he wasn’t even, truly, a Christian. One day as he plowed his fields, he knelt at the end of each row to pray, and the word “Lost, lost” continually hovered over him. Finally, halfway through the row, he broke. Falling to his knees, he cried out, “Lord save, I am lost!” The verse immediately came to him, “I am come to seek and to save that which is lost.”
Boehm wrote, “In a moment, a stream of joy was poured over me. I praised the Lord and left the field.” And from that day, preaching became a joy—a passion—and he zealously spread the message of salvation to which he had been oblivious for so long. He wrote, “This caused considerable commotion in our church, as well as among the people generally. It was all new.” Lives were transformed. The Great Awakening had come to the Mennonites.
When we who are given responsibility for the flock of God find it a struggle, and feel that the requirements are beyond us, perhaps we could benefit from stopping to pray after each row we plow. Perhaps we will likewise find the renewal we seek.
Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Sometimes when we plow for the Lord we need to stop and pray. This is not “looking back” but looking up, and looking forward to what is needed for God’s work to be done well. Often, a key element which frees the Holy Spirit to act in a situation is for the pastor to open up spiritually and become a better, more spiritual person. Often, the pastor must go first.
And the view of the world behind the horses is not always the best. In this work we are often very familiar with the rear end of God’s people.
First quote in italics is from “The Story of Boehm and Otterbein” from http://ub.org/about/boehm-otterbein/