Sword of Gideon and the Lord – Who is in the Pulpit?
There is an interesting discussion in our new forum about whether it is right to attempt to emulate another preacher when learning how to preach. You can join the conversation and read what was written here: http://shermancox.wpengine.com/emulatepreachers.
One writer stated the following common thing:
You do the work, God will bring the inspiration it is not you who should be in the pulpit but THE PREACHER Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit, you need to get out of the way and let God have God’s way.
God Uses Our Talents
While I think that one should beware of self-sufficiency in the pulpit, one should also recognize that God expects you to be in the pulpit. God chose you for some reason. God decided to use your talents, interests, and experiences in the pulpit to address that which needed to be addressed in your particular congregation. Certainly God didn’t have to choose us. Certainly God could have chosen another preacher, but it is God’s sovereignty that chose us at this time at this place.
Who’s Sword is it?
I am reminded of the Judges 7:16-20. Here God was going to do a great work through Gideon and the people were to yell not that it was just Gideon. That would be problematically thinking that humanity can do it totally on our own. In our context of the preaching event, it is too difficult for us to even think that falsity for a second. But also, the people were not to yell that it was just the sword of the LORD, which would promote the idea of passivity. No the people were to acknowledge that God has chosen to act through Gideon at this time, but also that God is ultimately the one in charge.
Truth Through Personality
Someone said that preaching is truth through personality. It is our very self that allows us to speak to people who are going through something. It is our experiences that become the raw materials that God uses to craft a message of power and comfort to the people of God. In short, we cannot totally step aside and let God take over. I would argue that we should stand right there and allow God to go into our experiences and help us find that story that will illustrate the truth. Perhaps God will use our mannerisms to bring home that word of power. Maybe God will use even our mistakes to teach truth as God did with Jonah. God chose you, so stand up, and yes remember it is God that sent you there, but also remember that it is you that God sent. Remember it is the sword of the preacher and of the LORD.