Sunday, February 14, 2016

Preachers Need To Hear It

Daily(ish) Blogging in Lent 2016 - Day Four

photo i took at a shrine in India this past January

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do to make God love you less.

This simple spiritual truth I learned from my pastor in childhood. He said it nearly every week. 

It's grace. And it’s mainly the thing I believe before and behind anything else I believe. 

There is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39). 

As a preacher, this is the truth I lay down as a gift, knowing that the gift, once given, is no longer in my hands. It’s out there. Sounds in the air, words written, words read. 

The thing is, I’ve never been great at giving gifts. Like on holidays or whenever. The gifts are fine. Sometimes even thoughtful. But before I hand over the package, I give a long preface, even apologize. It can make for an awkward birthday party. “I hope you like it! It’s okay, I think… I mean, you can return it if you don’t want it.” “There’s the gift receipt in there with the card.” Before it is even opened, apologies. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this problem—apologizing for a gift? 

Sometimes as a preacher, some years into it now, I can still be that way with sermons. In fact, today I was kind of like that. It’s weird: “I hope they like it.” “I hope they aren’t sick of this message.” Preface. Apology. Etc. 


I know I’m not alone. 

Preachers, we need to hear the grace and love we proclaim. For real. As many of you have said, that’s probably why were chosen to preach it. 

We’ve been given a gift, and the best we can do is lay it down. No apologies. No explanations. 

Just give the gift. New, vintage, used, whatever. It’s our gift. It's what we have been given to share. 

I’m glad my pastor, Pastor Jim, gave his gift for 16 years of his life, this message about God’s love. 

And because he shared it, now it's also mine. 

When we give our gifts, we never know who is going to pick them up. 

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