I despair of preaching

I’ve been re-preaching through a sermon series that I first did less than a year ago, and yet I seem to be rewriting half of it. ‘How did I possibly think that section would be helpful to say?’; ‘Oh this is so convoluted!’

Simultaneously (to add even more insult to injury), we’ve been working through some parables in campus bible studies that I’ve preached on before and I keep going, ‘Well I never saw that when I preached on it – how did I not see that?’

Over some despair and discouragement that has been creeping in, I have been reminded of more important (!) facts:

  • I am reminded of the richness of God’s Word, that even as I come back to a passage that I have preached before, I have much more to learn. I don’t mean hidden levels. Rather, the graciousness of God showing more or something that I hadn’t seen before. There is a beautiful richness to His Word which invites a coming back for more.
  • I am reminded of the need for humility. ‘I nailed that passage!’ ‘No, you didn’t, you fool! Not even half.’ We’re humble listeners and learners before we’re able speakers and teachers. And we don’t get to ‘own’ a passage, rather the Truth of a passage gets to own us as God works in us.
  • I am reminded of the necessity of prayer. ‘Who can understand these things? Who is worthy of them?’ ‘Oh Father grant us understanding by Your Spirit!’ We need God’s help in these things: let us pray. We must pray!
  • Lastly, I am reminded of God working through weakness. And that includes the weakness of preachers and teachers of His Word: their limited (they don’t know everything) grasp of what His Word is saying and their sometimes inadequate abilities to communicate it as well as one would like. There is much about preaching that can and must be worked at, but praise God that He works powerfully through weakness.

I [almost] despair of preaching, save for remembering God’s sovereignty and goodness in these things. He is able.

‘Father, make your Son known, make Him known!’

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One thought on “I despair of preaching

  1. One thought comes to my mind, a prayer I regularly pray: Thank-You Lord that all I need and all I need to know comes to me in Your Perfect Timing, in the exact right order, as I am here knowing You are an AWESOME God

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