It’s easy for we preachers to sometimes get focused on only the negatives of ministry. Church members can be headaches, and trying to reach people seems like an uphill battle. On the other hand, we have plenty of reasons to be thankful to be preachers today. Here are some of them:
- We have the Word of God in our language. I’m speaking primarily, of course, to my readers who speak English. According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, of the 7,000+ spoken or signed languages, fewer than 10% have full translations of the Bible.* At least 2000 languages have no Bible translation now going on. Those of us who have the full Bible in our language are blessed, indeed.
- We have a voice to speak. And, I mean literally. Some years ago, I knew a preacher who faced paralysis of his vocal cords – and that prospect, of course, struck him with fear. All of us have a voice to speak because God grants us the gift of voice. In fact, even those who speak through sign language do so because of God.
- We have freedom to speak the Word. No one knows how long that freedom will last, but as of today, we can stand publicly, proclaim the Word of God, and not typically face threats on our lives. Many of our fellow preachers around the world can make no such claim.
- We have training opportunities to improve our preaching. Whether it’s a free online course (like these offered at Southeastern Seminary) or a PhD degree in Preaching, we have opportunities that much of the world doesn’t have. Now, it’s even possible in the States to complete doctoral degrees in preaching without leaving our place of ministry.
- People trust us with handling the Word and look forward to hearing us. That’s remarkable, actually. God has called us, His people have affirmed us, and we have the privilege of proclaiming His Word. Even when we have church members who create stress in our lives, still others believe in us.
- God works through preaching to change lives. We’re deeply blessed to (1) be spokespersons for the eternal God, and (2) see the transforming power of the gospel. Many of us can give testimony of changed lives even when our sermon seemed the weakest.
- Our preaching doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not, anyway, but God doesn’t demand our perfection. In the end, our preaching works because the Word does its work (Isa. 55:11)—not because of our ministry track record, our academic credentials, our charismatic personality, or our preaching skill.
- Via the Internet, we can extend our preaching ministry to the nations. The Internet carries its own dangers, but we can now speak to the world from the pulpits where God has placed us. Only God knows how and where He uses our obedience.
- Preaching is serious work, but there’s joy in the service. Preaching’s hard, in fact, and it ought to be a bit frightening, in my judgment – but there’s nothing quite like preaching when God’s called you to do it. It will energize you and strengthen you.
Preachers, take some time today to say “thank you” to God. What other reasons would you add to this list?