Sunday Mornings As The Definition of Insanity

by Jared C. Wilson December 13, 2015

Pastor, every Sunday, over and over again, without fail, stubborn and convicted, you take to that pulpit and pin all your hopes on the gospel in your preached text. You aren’t trusting your rhetoric, your well-turned phrases, your homespun stories, your hokey jokes. You aren’t trusting your emotional appeals, your special pleadings, your creative context, your fog and lasers or your eighteen verses of “Just As I Am.” You leave all the good news out on the field, praying the seed will find purchase in softer soil than the week before.

You look up from your closing prayer and see, yet again, blank faces, arms crossed, pursed lips, feet itching to beat the Catholics out to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the local people-trough. You sigh.

Then you get studied up and prayed up all week and do it again. And again. And again.

Sometimes response comes in trickles, sometimes not at all. You start feeling quite hamsterian, and the preaching calendar is one giant wheel.

Pray, study, pray, preach.
Pray, study, pray, preach.
Pray, study, pray, preach.
Wash, rinse, repeat.

Somebody comes along at some point and suggests “This gospel stuff is nice” — this is a true story, by the way — “and you do it very well” — flattery will get you nowhere, or everywhere, depending on how my day is going — “but sometimes we need to hear other things.”

You want to say “Get behind me, Satan,” but you just smile and nod and inside your heart collapses like those outdated hotel-casinos they blow up in Las Vegas, with a great plume of dust that makes the sky look dirty. You feel old. It does feel like it’s getting old.

But you keep going. It’s giving you wrinkles, headaches, heartburn. You push on, press on, preach on.

Pray, study, pray, preach.
Gospel all day, erryday.

“If you think you need to hear other things,” you telepathically say to the valley of dry bones scattered across the pews, “it’s proof you need a double helping of the gospel.”

So you keep going. Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
What’s the definition of insanity again?

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God . . . – 2 Corinthians 5:13

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. - Galatians 6:9