Sunday, March 6, 2011
Can I Get an Amen? Anybody? Somebody?
One of the funniest yet most accurate cartoons I've ever seen was a drawing of a man sleeping, and inside a cloud above his head was an image of a church congregation doing "the wave." The caption underneath read, When Pastors Dream. Yeah, that's about it.
I've been doing a lot of preaching lately, and I love it. I preach twice weekly at my own church, with opportunities to share at a local Christian School, small groups, and at our new church plant. I had the privilege of sharing the word at a county-wide Thanksgiving Eve service a few months back. Of all the things I do as a Pastor, and the responsibilities are many, I enjoy preaching the most.
But do you know what's frustrating? I never know when the sermon is going to connect with the audience, or I'm going to lay an egg. It seems that the messages with the most preparation and prayer seem to fall flat. I couldn't get an "amen" if I paid for it. Believe me, I work hard to make sure I never just "call one in." The responsibility is too great, and the price paid by Christ is too high to just wing it from the pulpit and hope for the best. But the truth is, there are some messages that just require more prep. Common sense tells us that more preparation equals better results, right? Not always.
God's word doesn't return void. We know that. But there are just those days when no matter how hard you've worked, prayed, and travailed, it just seems like the Word has fallen on deaf ears. Hey, I admit it... I'm human. I feed off the reaction of the congregation. If they're getting it, then I'm pumped. If there are blank faces, I feel deflated and the preaching suffers as a result.
What to do? Simple. Keep running the race. I'm reminded of the Tour de France... a 3-week bicycle race broken up into day segments. Individual times to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winner at the end of the race. It's where you're standing at the end of the race that matters. That's what makes the race special... you don't have to finish first every single day to finish strong.
Just as long as someone gives you a wave along the way, you'll be okay.