Clydeside Preacher

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Are You Washed In The Blood"1 (Lyrics)

1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (NIV)

My hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, used to have a magnificent shipyard industry on the River Clyde. Thousands of men were employed in the building of some of the biggest warships and ocean liners in the world. When I was growing up, it was wonderful to see the shipyards at night time. From all over the docks, flashes of light could be seen as the riveters and welders worked on the hulls of the great ships.

On Friday afternoons, when most of the workforce was paid, thousands of men would walk out of the gates either to go to the pubs and spend their wages, or to head home to be with their families, possibly buying them a fish-and-chips supper for dinner. As these men walked out of the shipyard gates, a man, with his own portable platform, was preaching the gospel to the huge mass of workers. Most of the men walked by; some jeered and some cheered; some hurled insults and called the preacher everything under the sun.

It was an amazing ministry to watch, and on some rare occasions, the preacher was able to reach into the heads and hearts of a few men. He had been a shipyard worker himself, so he knew of their hardships, addictions, and struggles with life. Jesus had changed him, so he wanted to help other men make that transformation. It was a courageous, yet often humiliating ministry. But every Friday, the preacher was there giving God's message to thousands of men who had no time for faith.

The Church of Scotland was approached by some people and asked if they would ordain the Clydeside preacher. Sadly, they turned him down. He didn't have the right academic qualifications or the privileges of seminary training. This didn't bother the preacher. He just kept turning up on Fridays to preach the gospel. His strength was in the Lord and not in an ecclesiastical certificate that proclaimed him to be an official minister of the church. I never knew his name, but I admired his ministry, and he reminds me of this: God calls all sorts of people to minister, pastor, and preach in His name.

Perhaps you are being led by God to initiate a new ministry in your church. Perhaps God is calling you to do something in Christ's name for your community. Maybe you don't feel qualified to start or accomplish it. Remember this: if God truly calls you, He believes you can get it done.

Prayer: Lord God, we are all so different, and we each have various gifts, talents, and skills. Sometimes You call us out of our comfort zones and specialized areas to do something beautiful and completely unexpected for You. Grant us the courage to respond to Your call, and give us the strength to successfully fulfill all that You ask of us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Forward this devotional     Share this devotional on Facebook     Like PresbyCan on Facebook

About the author:

John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Send your feedback to the author

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you John.

    Many thanks for your message today to nudge me forward. It brought back memories of my youth as my father worked as a plumber in the shipyards.

    I can relate to your sharing, and I thank you for writing it.

    Dear John,
    I loved the Scottish story! Your message is so true. Thank you for your faithful rendering of His Word. Praise Him. May God continue to bless you.

    Dear Sir:
    Always enjoy and appreciate your messages.
    I am sure you have always fulfilled your calling!
    With Blessings and Best Wishes.

    Dear John Stuart,
    Thank you for a great example of Christian steadfastness, and a challenge to be creative in serving our Lord.
    Keep writing.

    Thanks, John. Once again you have touched my soul. Beginning new venture in evangelism and prayer with 40 Day Lenten prayer journey. Your words and story are indeed encouraging.
    Used your Advent material. Enjoy the life in your art.
    (Nova Scotia, Ca.)

    Hi Mr. Stuart
    Right on!! if God calls us we can get it done. This year, the Lord willing it will be 30 years ago that I led my first Church Service, since then I have preached hundreds of times, in different churches in our area and even beyond as a Presbyterian Lay preacher. I have also taken a lot of worship services at the Local Nursing home and have done Bible discussions there as well. I carry on doing the Lord’s work.
    Thank you for your message today.
    Blessings in all you do.

    Over the years we truly have learned to appreciate the daily devotions, especially when they were written by today’s pastor. We have seen God’s hand at work but it has never been an easy road to travel. It was often such a comfort to read the devotions written by pastor Stewart that we have received so faithfully.
    You have been given the secret in how to speak from experience, and your walk with the Lord. To my shame I can not remember how to write your name properly, but I do know you were raised in Scotland, and let me assure you that as a Dutchmen always felt close to the Scottish people. May God bless you richly is our prayer for all of you.
    (Alberta Canada)

    Thank you John,
    It’s always encouraging to know that the Lord can use each and every one of us for His ministry work.
    Our church streams the service live over the Internet on our website. I am usually operating one of the cameras which I really enjoy doing. One day I was feeling a bit down because a lot of dream jobs I was interested in are not available to me due to my health. But a good friend of mine one day was under the weather and couldn’t attend church but watched the church service from home on his computer. He later told me how much he appreciated this ministry.
    Anything and everything we can do for Christ, big or small, has an impact.

    Excellent message of encouragement and hope for all those struggling to make a difference in a world weighed down with regulations and restrictions. Nice insight into the freedom there was to preach on a corner, and the impact one life can have on others. If God calls us He truly does enable us, no matter whether “official” institutions give us recognition or not. We are serving God, not man, and that must always be our focus. Scripture verifies that God will confound the wise with those he chooses to use. Hats off to you for this rich, insightful message.

    Amen Glasgow brother John.
    Be Blessed.

Previous Post
Next Post

PresbyCan is a community of faithful, Holy Spirit-filled, Christ-centred, God-honouring Christians.