Sunday, April 08, 2018

Thinx 91: Preaching

There's an old joke about the minister traveling to a distant church in an outback farming community. He gets there to find that only one man has turned up for the service. The minister asks the man, a farmer, what he should do. The farmer says, "If I take a trailer-load of feed out into the paddock and only one beast turns up, I still feed it."

So the minister does the whole service with all the hymns, the eucharist, the offering, the sermon ... everything. At the end the minister goes to the front door as the farmer ambles out. Shaking the farmer's hand the minister asks how he found the service. The farmers says, "I said I'd feed the beast. I didn't say I'd give it the whole trailer-load!"

So there's this verse in Matthew that keeps prodding me. It says,
“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time?"

— Matthew 24:25 NRSV

It what I see happening in church when the bloke up front speaks: He's a slave of God. He's talking to other slaves of God. And he's feeding them. And he'd better be feeding them good wholesome food and not junk. The goal is spiritual growth not spiritual indigestion. God will hold him to account for what he says and, I expect, what he fails to say. The barest mininum will not suffice -- the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27) is the goal. And that takes time and commitment both from the speaker and from the listener.

I get it that the world (and even some Christians) think preaching is stupid and out of place in this "scientific age" (whatever that means.) But I believe in it. It seems good to me to preach. It seems good to the Holy Spirit to have people preach. He does good things in peoples hearts when healthy, nourishing food is served up in a sermon.

So I recently had an opportunity to preach at a Redeemed Christian Church of God gathering in Hilton, WA. There were only 10 in the congregation, but I fed them all the same. And it's good that they have a tradition of 50 minute sermons, because I took longer than I expected unpacking Acts 15:1-31. By the time I was done with that, I turned to the pastor, my good friend and neighbour Akin Oyemade, and asked how much time I had left. He said, "it'd be good to wind up fairly soon." Winding up took about 10 minutes but we all got home in time for lunch.

They want me back on the last Sunday in April and likely after that as well.

© Copyright Bruce M. Axtens, 2018

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