I love to preach God’s Word. I love to proclaim the gospel. I love to instruct and shepherd God’s people publicly. These are gifts from God you and I experience each week as pastors that I have been freshly reminded of these last 3 weeks being out of the pulpit. Yet, I have been reminded of something else that I deeply love about preaching that I have also missed these last 3 weeks. It is something that we should especially love about preaching that I fear many do not. It is something viewed as a burden…a means to an end…not a unique gift we are privileged to receive week in and week out. I am referring to…
“The hard, intense wrestling match with God’s Word to prepare to preach.”
There is something special about the hard, time-sensitive labor that is preparing to preach God’s Word in a few days. It feeds and nourishes our own soul in a way that moves us to preach powerfully what we have found through intense study and prayer. I recently had a young man say to me, “I love to preach, but I hate to prepare.” This could have been his way of saying the labor to prepare is hard…because it is. Yet, there is a legitimate risk in the heart of every preacher to “love to preach, but hate to prepare.”
Dear brothers and fellow pastors, yes, the labor is hard. It is intense. It must be done in less than 6 days regardless what has happened to you in the week. Yet, we must see our preparation as a gift from God. It is the time where we study with an intensity that nothing else can produce. Through that study our hearts and mind are pricked, challenged, fed, broken, instructed, shepherded, and molded by God Himself through His Word to make us who God wants us to be when we stand before our people to preach His Word.
Therefore, pastors grow to love your preparation. Pray that God would feed your soul as you prepare to feed others. If you are not a pastor, pray earnestly throughout the week that God would do a great work in your pastor as he prepares to preach. We have many joyful burdens as part of our calling as pastors. I submit to you this is one we should all grow to love.