It probably isn’t ideal to come back from a sabbatical and be as busy as I have been, but is it what it is, and I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on a few thoughts I’ve had after being thrust back into preaching in this way.
#1 - GOD SUPPLIES.
God has supplied the strength equal to the task. He hasn’t supplied more. He hasn’t supplied less. He has supplied exactly what I’ve needed to minister to the people who he has called me to minister to. God has supplied the right Scripture. God has supplied the timely discernment. God has supplied the necessary courage. God has supplied the way to even physically get to the places he’s called me to preach. To preach, you need supply. I praise God that he is my Supplier!
#2 - JESUS SAVES.
Every time I extended an opportunity to those who were listening to my preaching to place their faith in the good news of Jesus Christ, people did not accept the invitation. But, one time, five students did! Jesus still saves. Jesus still reaches down, by his sovereignty, and opens up blind eyes to his love. Jesus is still drawing people to himself. My job is to preach the good news and invite people to place their faith in Jesus. It’s Jesus’ job to save. And I’m so glad he still does!
#3 - THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS.
Even though I am preaching one message to scores of different people with different backgrounds, it blows my mind how the Holy Spirit can bring the message to bear on every heart in a unique way. The Holy Spirit takes the words that I use and causes them to impact hearts and minds in a supernatural way. There is no way that I can know every need of every listener present, let alone address every one of those needs in one message. But some way, somehow, the Holy Spirit does know every need, and he makes a way for those needs to be met. I’ll never understand how this works, but I am so glad I do not preach apart from the person of the Holy Spirit who convicts the hearts of my hearers.
#4 - THE GOSPEL REFRESHES.
The good news that Jesus absorbed our wrath. The good news that Jesus cleanses us of our sin. The good news that Jesus credits us with his righteousness. The good news that Jesus makes a way for us to be adopted into the family of God. This good news when received by faith is refreshing to the soul! No matter how many times someone has heard it, the gospel of Jesus Christ is always like an oasis in a desert for a weary traveler. The gospel always brings hope. The gospel always brings peace. The gospel always brings joy. The gospel always brings grace. How privileged I am that this is the news that I have been called to deliver!
There’s no doubt. I. am. exhausted. But I am also…overjoyed. God supplies. Jesus saves. The Holy Spirit convicts. The Gospel refreshes. And I get a front row seat to see it all go down!
If you are a preacher, be encouraged! This work that we’ve been called to is not in vain!
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11