I’ve just spent about five hours going through the material I have in preparation for writing a sermon to be presented this Sunday. This sort of research is normal in a week for me and takes so long because there’s always so much to read, digest, and then understand in such a way that the material can be preached. I always try to do my best here with the Word of God, because it is so important, and it is that to which I have been called as a Minister on top of the other things needing to be done during the week as well. And why my best? Because as another Senior Pastor of a very large church in the USA said, you owe it to your people to do your best. And from where I sit, he’s right! So tomorrow (Thursday), I will gather all my notes together, pray for Holy Spirit’s help, and spend the whole day, and occasionally into Friday, writing the message.
I have to say, that more often than not, it’s never easy. I remember a guy at Knox a couple of decades ago now when I was training for ministry. He boasted that all he needed was a few notes on one side of an A5 sheet and he could preach from that. Pretty good I guess although I never heard him preach so I can’t say how good what he shared was. I know of others too who have told me that they put some things together on Saturday. One guy I knew started on Saturday evening and then worked through the night until he’d got it sorted! He actually died of a heart attack before he was fifty. He was a really lovely guy and that was way too early!
But for me, I spend as much time as I need (in the daylight hours!) so that I can give my best on a Sunday.
But sometimes you get a passage like I have this week because it’s the next bit in the letter. Based on the number of words in the text, it should be about two messages. But the trouble is, it doesn’t break easily into two parts; neither would make sense on their own. So I’m faced with a quandary or conundrum or whatever you want to call it. Risk preaching too long or arbitrarily cut the passage in two and hope for the best. I’ve gone for the former but please don’t be put off; it will not be any longer than usual. Somehow with God’s inspiration it’ll come together. I trust in that every week!