A friend of mine was preparing to preach his first sermon at a new church, and he was (as anyone might understand) nervous. He had all sorts of concerns: Is this the right word for this congregation? Will my thoughts make sense to them? Have I prepared enough for this message?
It was that last question that jogged my memory of a quote I had read from Oswald Chambers in his book Approved Unto God. The title of that book comes from a passage a Scripture in which preachers are told to correctly handle the Word of God as a worker that is approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).
Check out this pearl of wisdom:
“Keep yourself full to the brim in reading; but remember that the first great Resource is the Holy Spirit Who lays at your disposal the Word of God. The thing to prepare is not the sermon, but the preacher.” —Oswald Chambers (my emphasis)
God doesn’t need His Word prepared—it’s already perfect. But He does need to prepare me to deliver the message. He needs to remove my opinions, my preconceived ideas, my hang-ups with that particular passage, my hesitation to share it.
The Holy Spirit of God needs to prepare me. And I need to let Him do it.
It’s a heavy, awesome responsibility to be “the one” sharing God’s Word to a group of precious people. I dare not even attempt it unless I have let the Spirit prepare me first.