Preaching isn’t easy.
That last sentence might identify me as Captain Obvious in the eyes of some. While it may be lacking in sophistication and nuance, it is nevertheless an extremely true statement.
If for no other reason, we know preaching is difficult because of regularity associated with it. I heard one preacher recently comment on this aspect by saying, “Preaching is difficult because you know Sunday comes around every three days.”
Sure, it only seems that way, but anyone who preaches on a regular basis understands what he was trying to say. A preacher by the name of Ernest T. Campbell said, “Sundays come toward the preacher like telephone poles by the window of a moving train.”
Recent days of quarantine and pandemic have made a challenging task even more so. Preachers are used to getting immediate feedback from the delivery of their messages, but that’s not possible when you’re videoing your message for playback at a later time. Even when the congregation regathered in person and on-ground, the preacher might have sensed a little distraction among his people that diverted their focus from what he was trying to say. And also the people who did gather seemed to be a different group every week.
Yes, preaching is difficult, but there is also an accompanying danger associated with it. How so? There is a danger for those who preach that we stop seeing it for what it truly is.
Because, more than anything else, preaching is a privilege. An amazing privilege.
Paul could hardly believe that he was allowed the privilege of preaching. In Eph. 3:8, he writes, “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
It was by grace, not his own merit, that Paul was given the opportunity to preach the message of the greatness of Christ.
As you read those words, preacher, what resonates in your heart? Do you say to yourself, “How fortunate I am to be able to preach the Gospel every Sunday!”? Is your attitude characterized by “I get to do this!” or is it more like “I got to do this”?
Here’s some possible action steps to remind myself of the privilege of preaching:
- Maybe I need to post Eph. 3:8 over my desk in my regular place of study or on top of the monitor I use to prepare my messages.
- Maybe I need someone to text me that verse during those weeks in which I conduct a funeral as well as prepare three biblical sermons and, as a result, begin to feel sorry for myself.
- Maybe I need my church to include those words on the paycheck I cash each week when I’m tempted to complain that I’m underpaid for the labor of my ministry.
Yes, it’s true that many preachers are underpaid as they labor in their preaching and teaching but only receive a half portion of honor (1 Tim. 5:17). Not every single person appreciates the work that you invest in your messages. But let’s stop for a minute and think about this. God uses the content of your sermons to bring salvation to those who place their faith in Christ (1 Cor. 1:21).
What an incredible thought! Heaven will be populated in part because of sermons like yours. And you will share that glorious space with some only because God anointed and empowered you to preach His great Gospel.
Take heart, pastor, and be encouraged that even during the COVID-19 pandemic God has given to you the privilege of preaching so that you can advance the Gospel together with all of Oklahoma Baptists.