A Sower Went Forth
"A sower went forth to sow..." Jesus began a parable with those words. He went on to speak of a man sowing seed, and how some of it fell on the sidewalk and was stolen away by birds, some of it fell among rocky soil and was unable to take root sufficiently, some of it sprang up but was choked by thorns, and then some found good soil and it grew into a remarkable harvest.
This post is for preachers, for those men who faithfully bring a message to God's people from God's Word week in and week out. If you aren't a preacher, I think there is still something very important for you to consider, but know that I'm speaking primarily to preachers.
Do you ever worry over whether you are connecting with your audience as much as is possible? Do you lose sleep at night knowing that you're not the most gifted communicator? That your introductions aren't as exciting as another preacher? That your invitations are not as "inviting"? That your illustrations aren't as clinching or engaging?
As a preacher, I know that what you and I do on Sunday is really important and really hard. Most of our audience doesn't communicate to an audience of 50 or 100 or 400 or 900 each week on a life-or-death matter like we do.
They don't understand how tough it is to connect with a senior saint, a new empty-nester, struggling young parents, single moms, and teens all at the same time, yet still have people home for kickoff.
Some people don't understand how challenging it is to save the lost and strengthen the saved in the same message while remembering your carefully prepared notes and keeping your ego in check.
Some people don't appreciate how difficult it is to reprove patiently, rebuke, and exhort so that everyone still likes you at the end of the sermon.
I know the inner struggle you endure each week because I, your brother in arms, endure it as well. I know the desire to be the most effective communicator and how it conflicts at times with being a faithful witness to the commands of Christ. I know what it's like to struggle in these areas while also having something such as an introverted personality or social disorder handicapping your ability to "be all you can be."
May I offer you a word of encouragement? Remember that we do not preach to be approved of men. A faithful preacher seeks to glorify Christ and see him built up in the hearts of our audience.
Remember that we will never please everyone—not even God can do that. Remember that some will take their anger, bitterness, or frustration out on you because their conscience has been pricked, and they'd rather chastise than change.
Remember that not everyone is critical of your message. Some are being shaped into the likeness of Jesus because of your faithful proclamation. Only eternity will tell of all the good you do.
Remember that we can go to all the seminars and workshops and conferences and lectureships we want in order to learn how to be a better expositor and communicator. But at the end of the day, some will still not receive our message. Remember that as they rejected Christ, they also will reject Christ's messengers.
Also remember that Christ told a story about a sower who went forth to sow, and in that story, not once did he say that the sower should have done a better job of where he sowed seed.
Remember that the Lord has more to do with connecting, engaging, and transforming our audience than we ever will. We are frail humans, and he remembers we are but dust. What he asks of us is to faithfully scatter seed.
Remember that and be encouraged when you next go forth to sow.
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