Sunday has drawn to a close. You, pastor, have preached your sermon(s) for the day and are looking forward to getting home to rest. Let’s face it, Sundays are exhausting. There’s no tired like preaching tired. Monday morning you wake up, perhaps still tired from the previous day. However, you know that Sunday is only six days away and the same tired you feel will revisit you once more in an almost never ending cycle. So you take out your Bible, read through your text for Sunday morning, and begin the task of sermon preparation once more.
This has been my experience while serving my first church for only seven months. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the labor of research and proclaiming God’s truth weekly. There seems to be little time to rest, because something always needs to be done. Furthermore, Sunday always arrives at the station on time whether we’re prepared or not.
The danger becomes how we respond throughout the week in our sermon preparation, and even our own personal devotional life. If we get into the habit of weekly preparing our sermons while forgetting the who of the biblical text, we miss the point of the Gospel. If, however, we get into the habit of weekly preparing our sermons without feeding our own souls, we neglect our duty as Christians.
This has been my struggle. I think of the “here’s what needs to be done” while, at times, neglecting to grow in my walk with Christ. Now I could compile a list of “here’s what needs to be done” so that I can have evidence that I am at least attempting to grow spiritually, but then I tend to become legalistic and finish my “list” in order to clear my conscience.
Practically, the best thing I have done is not prepare my sermon for my congregation; instead, I prepare the sermon for my own soul. While I am diagramming my passage, I try to worship Christ in the process. When I’m reading the commentaries or articles I think critically, all the while rejoicing over the complete work of Jesus Christ for my sins. When I type my manuscript, I am preaching it to myself and trying to serve my own soul, knowing that I will serve others as well.
This sounds almost elementary, for we should be doing this weekly and perhaps many of you are shaking your head thinking that you already to this. But when the danger of the ordinary creeps in, we find ourselves going through the motions once more. Let this serve as a reminder for you to fight, brothers, and worship as you research.