This week I’ve been pondering the motivations for a preaching ministry. Here are the eight points, followed by a summative two:
1. We preach because God is a God who speaks, therefore we have something to say.
2. We preach as an act of service to others.
3. Because the Gospel is thrillingly good news.
4. Because people need to hear the Gospel.
5. We preach to build God’s kingdom.
6. We preach to equip others for ministry.
7. Because we can’t help but speak of Someone so wonderful.
8. Because we care about the people to whom we preach.
9. (Odd Numbers) – We preach because we love the Lord. All of the odd numbered points have been different angles on the same issue. I certainly haven’t exhausted the possibilities here. Preaching as an act of devotion, an act of worship, and even preaching as obedience to God’s Word and as obedience to His calling on our lives – these could all be added. But the bottom line surely is this: as we take stock of our own motivation in preaching, are we still gripped and driven by a vertical responsiveness? This can so easily grow dull or become corrupted by a self-elevation and self-worship. Surely the best thing to do here is to spend time on our face before God and ask Him what our motivations are (ask yourself and you may respond with a lie!)
And what if motivations aren’t good here? Chase Him. Seek Him. Recognize that you cannot fix your own spirituality through personal resolutions and effort. The solution must always be a fresh vision of who God is. Open the Word, open your heart and here I come, ready or not!
10. (Even Numbers) – We preach because we love our neighbour. All of the even numbered points have been different angles on the same issue. Again I have by no means exhausted the possibilities. We could add preaching to strengthen the relationships of others (both vertically and horizontally), or preaching to influence society, or preaching to mark eternity.
Again, the bottom line is whether we have a horizontal outgoing motivation, or whether we have been corrupted by our flesh into a self-serving ministry that uses others to pursue our own goals and agenda. I find that the vertical spills into the horizontal. When I am the god of my life, then others become servants in my subconscious motivations. When God is clearly God from the perspective of the eyes of my heart, then I gladly reach out to serve others. Love the Lord, love your neighbour . . . always in that order.