A few months ago, I delivered a eulogy at the memorial service of my uncle. As I sat in the church pew, awaiting my call to the podium, a distant relative sitting next to me, chided me and said, “You know the number one fear of all Americans is speaking in public. But you have nothing to fear! I’m sure you will be fine.”
His sardonic wit was completely inappropriate for the moment, but it did not rattle me. I calmly delivered the eulogy and returned to my seat. His nonplussed comment betrayed his disappointment that I didn’t fail. “Good job.” he said begrudgingly.
This relative did not realize that as a professor of medicine, I give many speeches to diverse audiences. This eulogy, although a somber occasion, was no different. What allowed me to be at peace with this speech was the knowledge that no one in the audience would be asking me questions. The occasions before a major speech when I do get nervous is when I know someone in the audience may challenge my views. I attempt to anticipate all questions but I can never be in complete control, regardless of the numbers of speeches I have given.
This is why I continually marvel at Peter’s first sermon, on the day of Pentecost. Peter, the fisherman, the rough leader of the disciples, always putting his foot in his mouth. Now, empowered with the Holy Spirit, he delivered an eloquent speech, quoting from memory several Scriptural references from the book of Joel and Psalms. At the end of the sermon, Peter challenged his audience.
And Peter said to them, “ Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 (ESV)
At any moment, someone listening could have raised an objection or question. But Peter, who had never given a public speech was resolute in his purpose. He had nothing to fear because he was assured of his salvation and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He was in complete control because he had God on his side. And God mightily blessed and three thousand souls accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
Do you have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? You will have nothing to fear when God is with you.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in y0ur life.