What with sermon preparations and anxiety, the new preacher had gotten very little sleep the week before he was to address his flock for the first time.
By Sunday morning, he was both exhausted and extremely nervous. Nevertheless, he managed to make it up the few steps onto the platform and into the pulpit.
The preacher had barely begun his sermon when everything he had planned to say flew right out of his mind. In fact, his mind went totally blank. Then he remembered that in seminary they had taught him what to do if a situation like this ever arose: "Repeat your last point, and let it remind you of what's coming next."
Figuring this advice couldn't hurt, he recalled the very last thing he'd said, and repeated it: "Behold," he quoted, "I come quickly."
Still his mind was blank. He thought he'd better try it again, "Behold, I come quickly." Still nothing.
He tried it one more time. "Behold, I come quickly!" he all but shouted.
In his panic, the preacher pounded the pulpit with such force that he lost his balance, fell forward, knocked the pulpit to one side, tripped over a flower arrangement, and fell into the lap of a little old lady in the front row.
Flustered and embarrassed, the preacher picked himself up, apologized profusely, and started to explain what had just happened.
"That's all right, young man," said the little old lady kindly. "It was my fault, really. You told me three times you were on your way down here. I should have just gotten out of your way!"