I don’t mind being called a preacher. One of my lifetime goals has been to be a good preacher. That takes hard work. You know that. Good communication is never automatic. Sometimes you may think you’re coming through clearly only to be surprised when a member of the congregation, or even your wife, without your asking, shares with you that your message didn’t come through. We’ve all been there!
The greatest privilege in the world is to have people listen when we speak. But I never assume that the congregation comes to listen—to really listen. Rather, I usually assume they approach my message with a ho-hum spirit. Therefore, I have to earn the right to be heard every Lord’s day. We owe it to our congregations to prepare and then present good meals. I think that’s what Solomon had in mind when he wrote about the Preacher:
In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. (Ecclesiastes 12:9)
Did you notice where preaching should begin? With being . . . before doing. Before you teach the people you are to be a wise man. Remember how Jesus chose twelve men, “that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14). Notice the order? First they were with Jesus . . . then they preached.
The hard work of good preaching begins with the fear of the Lord—true wisdom. Don’t assume its presence. As you work hard to cultivate a genuine, growing relationship with God, wisdom will come.
Don’t take any shortcuts with that first step.