Don’t judge a book by its cover. But you do. The best publishers know that, and so they tend to make the covers of their books look attractive. Every now and then I come across a book that I know is pure gold in content, but just shake my head at the choice of cover. Even the same book released in two countries with different covers can cause consternation, but that is another issue.
While we might strongly assert that only the content matters, the truth is that packaging, and cover, and typeface, and font size all do matter when it comes to books. How much more does delivery matter when people are communicating direct?
Again, some will argue in most spiritual terms that the only thing that matters is content. This simply is not true. Great content poorly delivered is wasted content (because it will not be heard content). While packaging must never cover for thin content, we must not hide great content in shoddy packaging. This is simply poor stewardship.
More than stewardship, it is a downright contradiction of God’s approach. God isn’t in the business of sending abstract content in inaccessible documents via courier. God communicated vividly, powerfully, effectively and personally. His ultimate revelation of Himself was Himself in the person of His Son. Yet His Son came to us in the form of us. The incarnation was, in part, an issue of message delivery. He spoke the language of the people, he connected with the people, he didn’t allow his message to be obscured by poor delivery.
So let’s not be super-spiritual in an attempt to avoid the fact that how we deliver messages matters. When people communicate to people, the people hearing the communication are always and constantly processing much more than just the bare content itself.
There is the tone of voice, the manner of the person, the facial expressions, the physical movement, the body language, the energy conveyed and the perceived interpersonal connection between speaker and listener. Over the next couple of days we’ll ponder some of these aspects of delivery to prompt us in our preaching. After all, delivery matters.