Many of us are rightly concerned about the diet of those in our churches today. Of course, as preachers we try to feed good food on Sunday morning. But the rest of the week is concerning. People spend hours ingesting the values of Hollywood and HBO, chewing on the junk food of a tabloid culture, as well as the slightly sanctified fluff of some of what is labelled “christian” in magazine form or on TV. Add to that the constant bombardment by advertizing, itself no less saturated in godless values than the most overt propaganda of strident atheism. I could go on, but compared to all that, our preaching can feel like a mere healthy snack in a week-long binge of junk food.
But let us remember to check our own diet too. It is critical. Hear this timely exhortation from the mid-1600’s. Richard Baxter in Watch Your Walk: Ministering from a Heart of Integrity, (pages 139-140) wrote:
When your mind is enjoying heavenly things, others will enjoy them, too. Then your prayers, praises, and doctrines will be heavenly and sweet to your people. They will feel when you have been much with God.
Conversely, when I am depressed in soul, my flock will sense my cold preaching. When I am confused, my preaching is, too. Then, the prayers of others will reflect my own state of preaching. If we, therefore, feed on unwholesome food, either of errors or of fruitless controversies, then our hearers will likely fare the worse for it, whereas if we abound in faith, love, and zeal, how it will overflow to the refreshing of our congregations and to the increases in the same graces in others.
We are rightly concerned about the spiritual diet of our day. But let’s be sure to be concerned about our own diet, and not just that of others. If we feed on unwholesome food, they will suffer for it.