During the ministry of John Wesley (founder of the Methodist Church), many churches were led by lay preachers with limited education. On one occasion, one of these simple preachers was called on to preach from Luke 19:21, which reads in the King James, “Lord, I feared thee, because thou art an austere man.” Not knowing what the word “austere” meant, he assumed it was about “an oyster man.” So, he spoke about how an oyster diver plunges down from the surface above, cut off from his natural environment, and risks his life to collect his shells. The preacher concluded: “So, Christ descended to the squalor of earth in order to retrieve people and bring them into the glory of heaven.”
The story has it that twelve people were converted that evening. Afterward, someone who knew what the word “austere” meant, complained to John Wesley about the misinterpretation. Wesley replied, “That may be so, but the Lord got a dozen oysters tonight!”
Fortunately, God judges us, not on our perfection, but on our motivation. God sees the contents of our hearts and blesses our faith, however flawed, with spiritual fruit. And from one oyster to another – that is most definitely Good News!