Being given a time to preach in the Church is often a time of thoughtful hours and days.
I can never pick a sermon at a shot. Speaking of Church, Bible or on Christian living , I become a hypocrite when I speak matters larger than me… larger than what I can live…larger than my own beliefs. Those words may sound good to the Sunday Laity… but they will remain ineffective.
How can I call people to life which I myself cannot live? So, I preach to myself all my sermons before I do it on a podium. I hear it by the sea sides, beaches and by the lonely places. I ask myself if it is all true…. If all that is true…true in my own life. As Oscar Wild puts it in his book 'The Remarkable Rocket', "I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures."
I sympathize with people who has to 'deliver' a sermon every other day. What a right word is 'to deliver' ! A person who delivers isn't really interested in the content of the packet!! He just need to ensure that the packet reaches safely. But is preaching after all a 'delivery' business? Is today's ineffective Church pulpits standing testimony to this 'delivery' business?
It will be the greatest cross for me to do preaching on a regular basis. Hence, I am not called for that. The joy of speaking and listening is a compounded joy. The speaker or the preacher has to listen to his own speech or sermon. He got to see the qualities of his message in his own life. When happens then? The words begin to take life in the listeners. Then, what the writer of Hebrews says in 4:12 comes true …."For the word of God is living and active."
One of the very simple question that I ask myself after every sermon that I hear is , "What has this Sermon got for me?" or "Can I take home something from it?". Else, I just forget it.
To listen to the sermon is to go beyond hearing it. It is to take home something.