Students preach in chapel twice a week, and to help them refine their sermon preparation skills, we read their sermons and give feedback prior to delivery. Last week, a student brought me her sermon, and it was in rough shape. I confess I was a little less than gracious with her; she had waffled on whether she would be the one to deliver the sermon, so my patience was already a bit thin by the time she brought the text. So we talked, and she went to make corrections.
She brought her revised sermon, and it seemed as though she neglected to do a proper exegesis on the text. Since I taught her that course unit, I have to confess that I was more than a little annoyed. So we talked about the passage, what was happening, and how it applies to us today.
When she came into the vestry Sunday evening, she greeted me with a warm smile and said, “Reverend, today someone gave me some avocados. Would you like some?” What a gift. I had been hard on her, and she responded by offering me some of what was given to her. Then in her sermon, she said that I had helped to open her eyes and broaden her thinking about what the passage means.