For me, there is no harder aspect in the preaching process than physically writing the sermon manuscript. I love to study and I love to preach. But sermon-writing?
Its somewhat hard to convey to people who don’t regularly preach just how discouraging a blank sheet of paper can seem on a Monday morning! Somehow we must fill this blank canvas with words. Moreover, they must be fresh words; they must be God’s words; yet at the same time they must be conveyed in our words.
Now I don’t struggle with every part of sermon preparation. The first part of the process I do find rigorous but at the same time, highly enjoyable. I listen to what God is saying by studying the passage in considerable depth. With the aid of helpful tools and great Christian thinkers, I’m usually ‘enthused early’ about what I’m learning from God’s Word.
But still, the toughest part lies ahead. I must convey the truths I have learned to others. Writing becomes an important discipline in achieving this aim. But oh, how difficult it is!
I sometimes wonder if its any coincidence that writing and wrestling begin with the same two letters. Writing often feels like a wrestling match. We struggle with words. Sometimes they seem to be getting the better of us. With hard work, we manage to press them into submission, with clear sentences, logical paragraphs and apt word choices. Yet because of the struggle, sometimes I feel I need a ball and chain to keep me seated at my desk! It is painful to seek to give birth to words.
Its now Friday lunchtime. My manuscript is written. Thanks to God’s grace, I’m satisfied.
But boy….that was hard work!