A church vacancy committee undertook a long and diligent search for a new minister – and at last settled on one.
On the first Sunday the new minister went into the pulpit and delivered an amazing sermon. Everyone was deeply moved – they laughed, they cried, they were filled with awe. On the way out at the end of the service they thanked the minister profusely for his wonderful sermon, and congratulated each other on the brilliant choice they had made when they selected the new minister.
On the second Sunday, the new minister went up into the pulpit and delivered exactly the same sermon has he had the week before. Again people were deeply moved – but some scratched their heads and wondered what was going on. But, they gave the new minister the benefit of the doubt – perhaps he had just picked up the wrong notes on the way to church that morning – and they didn’t say too much.
On the third Sunday, the minister again gave exactly the same sermon as he had on the first and second Sundays. This time there was widespread consternation. The elders immediately called a meeting with the minister and asked him what was going on.
They said, “The sermon you preached today is a really great sermon – and we all are deeply impressed by your ability – but you’ve delivered it three times now. Don’t you know any other sermons?’
“Oh, yes!, replied the new minister, “I have loads of them – and they are all just as good as the one you just heard.”
“Well then,” replied the elders, “Why don’t you preach one of them next week.”
“I’m not going to do that”, the minister replied, “until all of you have started following the message of the first one.”