Here I am. I’m staring at my manuscript for the sermon I am supposed to preach tomorrow and I am just not feeling it. It happens every so often, especially when you are preaching through a book of the bible. You come across a passage and struggle to get excited about it. It is not because it is a tricky passage, those can present a challenge and make you work. It is not because the passage doesn’t have anything valuable to say, all passages have some we need to hear. Which means it really isn’t so much about the passage as it is about you.
This struggle can catch a preacher at almost any time during his sermon prep. Maybe it hits at the beginning of the week as they are examining the passage. The preacher examines and studies yet just doesn’t feel thrilled about what is being said. And of course, guilt can naturally come because, what kind of preacher is not thrilled with the Word of God? But at the start of the process the preacher has time to internalize the passage, pray through it, do all the exegetical work, and hopefully through that whole process, gain excitement from God is telling them and what they have to tell their congregation. Yet sometimes this lack of enthusiasm can hit the pastor as he is going over his manuscript. He all of the sudden realizes that he is just not that excited about what he has written. And if he is honest, I bet that sense has been there since the beginning of his sermon prep.
Whenever this feeling of not being excited about the forthcoming sermon hits, it needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed because a pastor or preacher not being excited about preaching on a passage is not an indication that there is something lacking in that particular passage. It is an indication that there is something off within that particular pastor. The pastor needs to once again humble himself before the cross, see where Christ is proclaimed within the passages, and rejoice in the Word of God. The pastor needs to truly feel the passion of the truth he is about to speak. It needs to be internalized, drive him forward, and spill out over the congregation.
A pastor needs to step into the pulpit on fire with the Word of God. As Jeremiah stated, it needs to be as if a burning fire was shut up in his bones and he cannot hold it back. The preaching needs to be like Paul in Athens, provoked within his spirit to proclaim the truth. If a pastor doesn’t feel like the sermon he delivers is that important, why on earth would his congregation feel different? This important task of proclaiming the Word of God to the people of God calls for men who are moved in their very being with joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. It is a noble calling that brings to mind the quote from John Knox, “I have never once feared the devil, but I tremble every time I enter the pulpit.” We should tremble because we have felt the weight not only of the responsibility but also the weight of the text on our very souls.
So pastor and preachers, dive back into the text! Swim within it and let it marinate your soul. Fan into flame a roaring fire within your bones over what the Word of God is communicating. A fire that must be unleashed lest it consumes you from within. Step into the pulpit ready to communicate with clarity the truth of God Word, but let that clarity be spoken with a passion that touches people’s hearts.