For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…. (2 Timothy 1:6).
I was sitting on the platform, ten feet to the left and rear of the pulpit, studying the 300 people in the congregation. In five minutes, I would walk to the podium and, as the guest preacher, bring the sermon. The thoughts running through my mind were not helpful.
“They know all these things. My sermon is about the church. And these people are at church on a Sunday night, of all things. I might as well go into a diner and speak on the joys of eating. Or to a gym and talk about the need for exercise.”
Then, sanity returned. I knew this was not the case at all.
I thought about the times when I sat where they sit. I often needed a strong reminder of the proper value to be placed on the church, of how solidly God feels about it, of the price Christ paid for it, of the assignments He has given it, and yes, reminders of the sorry way the church is being treated by some of its friends.
There was a genuine need for this message, and on this night I would deliver it as strongly as I knew how.
I gave it my all. The response at invitation time–not always the best barometer, I know–indicated the sermon had hit its target.
The best barometer, and one I’m not privy to, would be the behavior of the members of that congregation over the next few weeks and months.
It’s easy for preachers to fall into that little sinkhole which had opened up just in front of me, and think, “These people do not need this; they already know it.”
In such situations, it’s good for the man of God to remind himself of three facts: