Heart for Preaching
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, December 2.
hen Dacosta was 7 years old, he went to a special children’s program in the African country of Ghana.
It was summertime, and he and 290 other children stayed in rented dormitories for a fun weekend. On Sabbath, a 10-year-old girl named Gifty preached about the Second Coming of Jesus.
Dacosta liked the sermon very much. He couldn’t wait to see Jesus come in the clouds of glory.
After the sermon, an adult asked the children, “How many of you would like to preach like Gifty? If you would like to, tell your parents, and join the preachers club.”
Dacosta had never heard about the preachers club. But he thought, “If that girl can preach, I can preach, too!”
A few Sabbaths later, Dacosta learned at his own church that a new preachers club would meet at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. He remembered his desire to preach like 10-year-old Gifty, and he went to the first meeting of the club.
The teacher challenged him and other children to memorize John 14:1. “Come back next Sabbath and recite it from memory,” the teacher said.
Dacosta worked hard to memorize the verse that week. He couldn’t understand why he needed to memorize a verse when he just wanted to learn to preach, but he memorized it anyway.
“‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me,’” he repeated over and over.
On Sabbath afternoon, he recited the verse perfectly. Other children also recited the verse. The teacher was pleased. He told the children to memorize Psalm 100.
Dacosta worked hard to memorize the five verses of Psalm 100 that week. He couldn’t understand why he needed to memorize verses when he just wanted to learn to preach, but he memorized them anyway.
“‘Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!’” he repeated over and over from Psalm 100. “‘Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.’”
On Sabbath afternoon, he recited Psalm 100 perfectly. Other children also recited the chapter. The teacher was very pleased. He gave the children more Bible verses.
After some time, the teacher announced a special children’s Sabbath. Ten churches would get together to celebrate. The teacher asked Dacosta to preach a sermon about Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son.
When Dacosta agreed. Several weeks later, when he preached his first sermon, he understood why the teacher had asked him to memorize so many Bible verses. Because he had worked hard to memorize the verses, it was easy to remember the sermon.
Church leaders were very pleased with the sermon, and they said Dacosta should preach again.
Dacosta next preached for seven days in a row at children’s evangelistic meetings. At the end of the seven days, five people gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized. Dacosta couldn’t believe his eyes. God somehow had used his preaching to lead five people to give their hearts to Him!
Today, Dacosta is 14 years old, and he loves to preach. He is glad that when he was a little boy he heard a 10-year-old girl preach. God used that sermon to spark a desire in his heart to preach, and now he plans to become an evangelist — and maybe also a mechanical engineer.
He hopes that every boy and girl who hears his story will also think about preaching. “Just try,” he says. “Memorize Bible verses and prepare a sermon to win souls for Jesus Christ.”