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“But by the grace of God I am what I am” are Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:10. Although Paul is writing in reference to his former life, persecuting the Church, the principle of being satisfied with who and what God has made you extends to many other areas of our lives. Preachers included, can be an anxious group, uncomfortable with who they are and longing to be someone else. If we are honest, who has not wished to have the personality, ability, intelligence, or discipline of their favorite preacher? But by the grace of God we will not all be the next Bill Hybels or John Piper. In fact, most of us will not be known beyond the walls of our own church or community. And that also is by the grace of God. What a privilege it is to serve as the person God has made us, with all of our quirks, for the unique situation where God has called us.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers,” had similar advice for his students after lecturing on posture, action, and gesture in preaching. He wrote:

“In conclusion, do not allow my criticisms upon various grotesque postures and movements to haunt you in the pulpit; better perpetrate them all than be in fear, for this would make you cramped and awkward. Dash at it whether you blunder or no. A few mistakes in this matter will not be half so bad as being nervous. It may be that what would be eccentric in another may be most proper in you; therefore take no man’s dictum as applicable to every case, or to your own. See how John Know is pictured in the well-known engraving. Is his posture graceful? Perhaps not. Yet is it not exactly what it should be? Can you find any fault with it? Is it not Knox-like, and full of power? It would not suit one man in fifty; in most preachers it would seem strained, but in the great Reformer it is characteristic, and accords with his life-work. You must remember the person, the times and his surroundings, and then the mannerism is seen to be well becoming a hero-preacher sent to do an Elijah’s work, and to utter his rebukes in the presence of a Popish court which hated the reforms which he demanded. Be yourself as he was  himself; even if you should be ungainly and awkward, be yourself. Your own clothes, though they be homespun, will fit you better than another man’s, though made of the best broadcloth; you may follow your tutor’s style of dress if you like, but do not borrow his coat, be content to wear one of your own. Above all, be so full of matter, so fervent, and so gracious that the people will little care how you hand out the word; for if they perceive that it is fresh from heaven, and find it sweet and abundant, they will pay little regard to the basket it which you bring it to them. Let them, if they please, say that your bodily presence is weak, but pray that they may confess that your testimony is weighty and powerful. Commend yourself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God, and then the mere mint and anise of posture will seldom be taken into account.”

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