Have you ever had to preach at short-notice? What do you do if you only have two days to prepare? Two hours? Two minutes? In some ways I hope it doesn’t happen to any of us. On the other hand, maybe it would be good if it did. Why?
1. A short-notice sermon shows quickly whether your spiritual tank is full or empty. There are times when our spiritual reserves are bursting to open a Bible and share from the heart. At other times a short-notice sermon might feel very dry and simply the reworking of an old message. Interestingly, the listeners may not know the difference, but you would. How is your tank today?
2. A short-notice sermon pushes you onto your knees. In the panicky moments of pulling thoughts together for a message without enough time to prepare, it should eventually dawn on us that this is not an exercise in memory or even fast-preparation. Preaching is as much a prayerful endeavor as it is anything else.
3. A short-notice sermon might restore a fading excitement at the privilege of preaching. Perhaps you see God working very much despite your own feelings of inadequacy. Perhaps you see God working despite you not being able to fully craft and script and hone and learn the message. Perhaps you see God working in a fresh way and your heart will be rekindled with a passion for the adventure of preaching. Perhaps you don’t need this to achieve that . . . perhaps?
Plenty more could be said on numerous levels about short-notice preaching. But maybe we could all benefit just from imagining what a one hour or one day warning might do for us as preachers!