Wednesday, December 16, 2015
I know I have used the analogy before, but I feel the need to use it again anyway. Just as a professional violinist can tell when their fellow violinists have studied, practiced, and have done the necessary preparation to play their selected music, any well studied and prepared minister of the gospel, can easily tell when hearing others share God’s Word, if they have studied and prepared themselves before opening their mouths. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” Just as a powerful weapon in the hands of an untrained shooter can cause great harm, God’s Word in the hands of the unlearned and/or unprepared can do the same. That is why it is imperative that those who speak on God’s behalf, in any capacity, should be studied up and prepared. Paul advised the young minister, Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Even after 40 plus years in the preaching ministry, I still need many hours of prayer, research, and study in any sermon or bible class I share with others, and I never climb the pulpit without my notes. Even when doing the closing, which I mostly do without notes, everything I say is prepared beforehand.
When I was in the radio ministry, I used to hand deliver my recorded messages to the station manager so he could play them at the scheduled time. One day he said it would be easier for all of us if I would just go to their recording booth, he would turn on the mike, and I could start talking. He said most preachers did it that way. I politely declined telling him I did not have the “gift of gab” like they did. The real reason, however, was that I would not dare just open my mouth and say the first thing that came to my mind. All my messages were scripted and edited before I recorded them. I wanted to ensure that I said exactly what I planned to say. I took Colossians 4:6 seriously then, and I still do. It tells us: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” It was as if the apostle was telling me personally, “Please prepare!”
As a child of God, I urge you to study the Bible as much as you can. The more you know it, the better you can share it with others. And if you are among the honored few who has been given a platform by God to share His Word in a public setting, I plead with you, “Please prepare!” Keep in mind that there will always be some listeners in the crowd who will quickly know if what you said was studied and prepared beforehand. More importantly, you are in a position to either help or hurt your listeners.
Memory verse for the week: (Deuteronomy 12:32) “See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”