As a preacher each week I teach two Bible classes, and preach two sermons in an effort to encourage, rebuke and sometimes plead with my brothers and sisters to try to imitate Christ, and allow God to make them in the image of his son (Romans 8:29). I never knew, when I began to preach, how rewarding this would be, and how, sometimes, it is frustrating. There are a few things I have learned in my years of preaching.
- I have learned that people will do what they want to do, and hear what they want to hear. This makes preaching somewhat challenging, because it means that I need to do what I can to encourage people to listen to God and his word.
- I am constantly made aware of the fact that people will judge the message on the life of the messenger, and I know that my life has sometimes detracted from the message. I continue to work on that daily.
- Years ago, I felt like I could change the world. Now, I work most of all on changing me. I can change no one but me, and that is a full time job. But God and His Word can change people. Hence, I work to make sure than when people hear me preach, they hear the Word of God, not the opinions of Tommy.
- Often I feel that I have not studied enough for all of my lessons, and I beseech the Lord to “speak through me.” Again, this is not something miraculous, but many have been the times when I have been weak, and the lessons came out strong. I attribute that to God.
- I am amazed at how much I learn as I preach. Many times I preach God’s Word thinking and praying that it might help the church to grow, and I realize how the message hits me square in the eyes. Last week I discussed walking with God, and how when a person walks with God they go “in the same direction, on the same path, and at the same pace as God.” What hit me was the idea that we often walk in front of God – and wind up worrying about the future because we can’t see that far ahead. So now, I am working on dealing with one day at a time, and doing the best I can with the information I have, and leaving the rest in the hands of God.
I am sure that I will learn more before my earthly pilgrimage is over.
“Lord, help me keep my eyes focused on you, and help me to change to become more like you and your Son. This will keep me pretty busy, so I ask, Lord, that you will give me the strength to continue on. In Jesus name, AMEN.”