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NOT Preaching? Really?!

September 4, 2008

I’m not preaching this Sunday. Since preaching tends to be a weekly occurrence for me these days, this phenomenon actually takes some getting used to. In no particular order, here are a few observations about my ‘non-preaching week’.

1) It feels strange. Its like I’m in some kind of twilight zone. Not having to contend with some colossal Scriptural text? Not having to struggle and wrestle and pray and tremble over God’s Word? I feel like a fighter with no foe!

2) The week is no less busy. To the contrary. I try to do lots of things I wouldn’t otherwise have time for: pre-prepare bible studies, write letters, prepare training seminars, spend time with people! Consequently…

3) The week is far more ‘bitty’. Since I don’t have that one great thing around which everything else hangs, life seems somewhat fragmented.

4) I am more tempted to spiritual sloth. I’ve detected this sin previously too. When I’m preaching on Sunday I tend to keep myself spiritually sharp, but when I’m not preaching I more readily ease off in my prayers and reliance on God.

5) I miss preaching and regain a hunger for it. This is one of the great benefits of occasionally not preaching: it provides a break from the week on week demands of preaching that can make it feel like negotiating a treadmill! On the Sunday when I’m not preaching, I miss the challenge; but by the following Sunday (two weeks since preaching!) I’m champing at the bit to proclaim God’s Word!

I may come back and add more observations, but I’ve got too many things to attend to (apart from preaching!).

5 comments

  1. 4) “I am more tempted to spiritual sloth. I’ve detected this sin previously too. When I’m preaching on Sunday I tend to keep myself spiritually sharp, but when I’m not preaching I more readily ease off in my prayers and reliance on God.”

    Colin,

    You are right on with this observation. I notice when I am not preparing an adult Sunday School lesson, my spiritual walk slacks off. My intensity and hunger for God wanes and I’m not as focused on God or His Word. This is an area I really need to work on. Thanks for your vulnerability and honesty.


  2. I’d agree with observation 4, though the flip side is sometimes when I have a busy week, when I’m preaching, have home group to prepare, various meetings to attend, assemblies to do and pastoral visitation too these things (prayer and reliance on God) can get squeezed to the margins.

    Its just another reminder that I am prone to sinful rebellious independance and a reminder to be like the early church devoted to the Apostles teaching, togetherness, prayer and the Lord’s Supper.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  3. Yes – point #4 is spot on.


  4. Yes, point four is true in my experience too. There is something in me now that really likes the deadline (with 2 sermons as I have, a double-deadline) of getting ready for Sunday.

    I let my mind chill on Mondays and then start again!


  5. Still pondering point four and have come across the following quote from Lloyd-Jones from vol2 of Murray’s biography(p738)

    “Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”. Bear in mind.. our greatest danger is to to live upon our activity. The ultimate test of a preacher is what he feels like when he cannot preach. Our relationship to God is to be the supreme cause of joy. To lean upon our sermons or words of testimony from others is a real ‘snare of all preachers'”.



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