November 5, 2002
SPRINGFIELD — Preaching from I Kings and Deuteronomy, Tony Preston said the prophet Elijah had a passion for leadership and ministry, but then he lost it.
"On Mt. Carmel when the fire fell from Heaven, it was God manifesting His glory, and caught up in the energy, Elijah runs more than 20 miles to Jezreel," said Preston, assistant academic dean and professor of pastoral leadership for Midwestern Seminary, Kansas City. "But in a moment of sheer physical and spiritual exhaustion, he stopped. His passion wilted, and he was trembling under a juniper bush. He lost his passion in the perils of service."
Preston said ministers today can have their passion for ministry restored by following Elijah’s example: stop, sup and join God’s calling again. "When Elijah stopped running, God could have his attention," he said.
"God found Elijah and ministered to him," he said, noting the angel of the Lord baked bread for Elijah while he slept. He compared that with Jesus who is the Bread of Life. "It takes Jesus to rekindle this kind of passion. Stop and feast on the Bread of Life. This is how He renews our passion – by spending intimate time with him. Stop, sup and then go and do what He says."
Preston’s address was one of three theme interpretation Bible studies the professor led at the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting Oct. 28-30.