On a recent episode of our leadership podcast, Greg Heeres and I were discussing how easy it is for people to slip into a complaining attitude. One of the things I point out is that if we ask for compliments instead of complaints, we can begin to change the culture of our organization.
God instructs Jeremiah to simply go to the potter’s house and watch. Jeremiah obeyed: “I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working” (v. 3). It was after taking in this scene that God could speak to Jeremiah a sermon illustration. Jeremiah says, “Then the word of the Lord came to me” (v. 5).
Not only did God help Jeremiah prepare his sermon with a visual illustration, but God also prepared Jeremiah for the follow up conversation. God knew how the people would respond to Jeremiah’s message, and He again gave him the words to speak ahead of time (vv. 12-17).
God knows His sheep better than we do. He knows what they need to hear, and how best to make His message stick. Jesus said,
“I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders concerning what to say and what to tell. And I know that His commandment means eternal life. So whatever I speak, I am saying exactly what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions.” (John 12:49-50 AMP)
We pastors and evangelists dare not try to prepare a message on our own!
Samuel Johnson prayed something that I pray every time I sit down to prepare a sermon: “Almighty God, my Heavenly Father, without Whose help labor is useless, without Whose light search is in vain, invigorate my studies.”
Seeking God’s help in our sermon preparation should be our very first action every single time.