I am an extemporaneous preacher. I would prefer to be a good manuscript preacher. I would like to have every word carefully chosen in advance. My presentation would be more fluid and consistent. My arguments would be tight. Every point would have an appropriate illustration. I would be more effective, or so I dream.
I cannot be a manuscript preacher because I must maintain eye contact. I am driven toward a perception being heard and understood. I must have visual confirmation of that. For me preaching is more than proclamation; it is communion with the saints and the Word of God. My compulsion is to bring people and God together in a shared attention to the Scriptures. I have seen great manuscript preachers accomplish this divine/human koinonia. Hollis Gause is of course the premier of the list with Cheryl close behind. I lack the gifts needed.
Never-the-less, I am blessed to preach by the grace of God. There have been a few times I have preached as if in a Godless vacuum and God has worked in spite of my mental void. But most often I sense God’s presence and favor when I preach. Many times I have been lost in a valley of desperation, abandoned by any sense of God’s favor until I step to the pulpit. By His grace He meets me there and keeps His promise given so long ago, “If you will take up the burden, I will anoint you.”
Whatever else I am, whatever else I may become, I am a preacher of the Gospel. I suspect that puts me way down on the list for Heavenly rewards. It does keep me in a state of thanksgiving, not to be a preacher, but to know I serve the Lord in the role to which He called me. And He smiles on me there.
August 30, 2010