Here are another pair of thoughts as we reflect on the why? behind the ministry. Perhaps these two should give more pause for thought than the others already posted?
7. Because we can’t help but speak of Someone so wonderful. This should be the case. Sadly, over time, it can easily cease being the case. We can end up in a role, in a ritual, in a rut. We end up preaching because that is what we do, or that is how we pay bills, or that is how we get respect. We feel we should. We feel it is expected. We know it is needed. And somewhere along the way we fail to notice the fog gathering between our hearts and heaven.
A growing spiritual complacency is the proverbial frog in boiling water syndrome for preachers. God can become familiar and distant at the same time. He can become a concept, a set of truths, a source of identity for us, but somehow fade from being the captivating One who so fills our hearts and lives that we can’t help but speak of Him. May we all have a constant stream of newly engaged folks in our churches – constant reminders of the simple reality that a captivated heart can’t help but spill out.
8. Because we care about the people to whom we preach. Again, this should be the case. Sadly, over time, our flesh can easily co-opt the other centredness of ministry and turn it to a self-serving project. We can become preachers doing so to gain respect, to gain credibility, to gain attention, to gain a following, to gain influence. The gain increases and the give becomes token. Of course we can talk about giving – we can frame the ministry in self-sacrificial and spiritual terms. But really?
Just as spiritual fog can go undetected for too long, so a growing self-absorption is hard to spot in the mirror. Our flesh will always justify a subtle pursuit of godlike status. So we must keep walking with the Lord and ask Him to search us and know us. Ask Him to underline the motivations that drive what may look like a gloriously giving ministry. The true biblical preacher is shaped by the Word they preach, and they join God in giving of themselves as they preach it to others. The blessings are hard to quantify, but they must be the by-product, not the goal.