Come on, preacher, preach.
Don’t coddle me, don’t just stroke me beyond credibility, don’t insult me by thinking I’m stupid. Don’t try to pass off as the message from on high cheap, unprepared remarks. Don’t just condemn me and tear me down. Don’t try to impress me with your intellect. Preach.
Proclaim person-to-person what my relationship with Christ should mean, what it demands, how it can help me in the struggle to survive, what I should believe, how I should act, how I can grow, what I must do for others.
Warn me of the dangers of this present age. Tell me how to rise above my suspected needs to seeing the needs of others.
Most importantly, preach the Bible. Present the messages of the Bible. I can go other places and hear lectures on morality, or philosophy, or the power of positive living. And, without being insulting, if that is what I want, I could go other places and hear better presentations. But I want more; I want to know what the Bible says about life and living it. If you give me a consistent diet of less, you deprive me of the one unique presentation you can make.
Move me emotionally, but not just emotionally. I know that I am a creature of emotion. I want to think all my decisions are rational, reasoned, intelligent. To make preaching emotionless robs it of a vital component but I know that I make most of my decisions based on feelings. Even when I know what is right, I do not usually do it until I feel those subtle emotions that urge me on.
My faith involves emotions just as does any other relationship. Love, joy, hope are more than emotions, but they are also emotions. So let natural emotions surface.
Help me intellectually. Mine is a reasoned age. I can get the froth of religion on television, but I need something with intellectual substance. I need solid thoughts to help me through the week when my emotions run dry. I need something tangible to help me on Monday when my children balk and my job hurts, my friends cry and temptation to do evil threatens. Preach.
And when you preach, be real. Don’t just don the mask you may think I expect, or that hides your humanity. That distracts from the reality of what you say, gives it a false ring and makes me wonder if you mean what you say.
I know that if left alone, I will badger you and fill your days with trivia. I will made demands of you — demands that are generally unnecessary, unpleasant and unfair. I will require your presence at my clubs, my bedside, my parties, my home. I will do this knowing all the while that you must have priority time to do the work necessary to preach.
I want you to preach, so you must make sure you have the time to study, to contemplate, to pray, to listen, to make the Bible your wise, guiding, helpful, correcting friend. If you help me on Sunday, your message will grow from this kind of time. I know this, but I will not easily allow you the time. I realize the paradox, but it is true. I am like the family that wants the father to do well in business so they can have things, then resent him for being at work. I cannot tell you why I am this way, but I am. Make me leave you alone when you must be alone. Live your life with Christ so when you speak of him you speak of a friend and not a concept.
Force me by the power of your presentation to listen when I would rather not. I had rather you put aside your manuscript, stand up to simply tell me what your manuscript says. But I had rather you read a manuscript than fly by the nape of your neck.
I know my telling you this is presumptuous. But I need help. I am trying to live my life, get it together, do what is right. I am bombarded by all kinds of pop-preaching in the name of religion; I am besieged by causes that would claim my life; I am struggling to make sense of it all. Worse, there are times I do not care what the Bible or a preacher says, but I come to church out of habit and to feel good about myself. But I do know that I need help, and that God, his church, his recorded work and its proclamation are the source of lasting help. So preach.
All this places an incredible load upon you, but I can’t help it. I need a word from God. So when you stand to preach, please, preach.
Reprinted with permission from the Louisiana Baptist Message.
Come on, preacher, preach.