Warning: Preaching is Not the Performance of an Hour
I had an opportunity to present ideas on cultivating the discipline of Bible study recently at a weekend retreat. I only had fifteen minutes to present so I worked really hard on being succinct which meant cutting five points down to the one main thing with ways to immediately apply. I love to teach, almost as much as I love to write, but this exercise on whittling down my sermon to fit within the time constraints was challenging, but proved effective.
The next day, the retreat organizer thanked me for presenting and commented that what I shared was simple and straightforward, what everyone needed to hear. My ego would have loved to hear that I had wowed them or that it was full of wisdom but in reality this is one of the best compliments a Bible teacher could receive. A simple and straightforward message from the Word of God makes it accessible and understandable.
Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
Paul stuck to the basics and relied on the Holy Spirit, which had powerful effects everywhere he went. Later on, he was criticized by this same group of people for the contrast between his speaking and his writing (2 Cor. 10:10). Mainly, they were trying to discredit him, but his response was this, “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one who the Lord commends” (2 Cor. 10:18). God worked powerfully through the apostle Paul and still works through what he wrote and taught over two thousand years later.
As I was thinking about all of this, my one take-away is remain true to simple preaching and teaching of the Word of God. So many times there is a temptation for me to try and gain notoriety as a blogger (or teacher), to gain more of a following by writing on more popular or controversial topics as so many do but each time I contemplate this, but heart breaks a little thinking that it would be a betrayal to the mission I’ve received from the Lord. Which is to be a good, solid Bible teacher within the body of Christ. To study and write through the scriptures and explain, personalize and make them accessible to others.
It was E.M Bounds who said, “Preaching is not the performance of an hour. It is the outflow of a life” (Power Through Prayer). #MayThisBeMyLegacy