The Words of Gardner Taylor: NBC Radio Sermons, 1959-1970 (Words of Gardner Taylor)Gardner Taylor preaches a sermon entitled “A Cry in Disappointment” in The Words of Gardner Taylor volume number 1.

In this sermon, Pastor Taylor looks at the story of Jacob and Esau. However, Taylor preaches a different sermon on the subject than we sometimes hear. Dr. Taylor looks at the story from the angle of Esau. Here he looks at how Jacob stole the birthright from Esau. How Esau was a man of the outdoors while Jacob used his slickness to steal from Esau what was his. Then Taylor looks at the cry of desperation that Esau had when he asked Isaac, “Do you not have a blessing for me.”

A Different Character

What is interesting about this sermon is how Taylor centers on the character that preachers usually either vilify or ignore. Even if you ultimately come out against the character, usually we can see ourselves in the character if the preacher teaches the character with a sympathetic view.

How to do this?

You can do this by trying to understand all the characters in the Bible story. Seek to get in the head of the characters. Try to understand them. Try to understand their feelings. Try to understand their point. Do they have a point? Too often we simply speak against these marginal characters and lose their teaching power.


The possibilities are endless. Why not look at the story of the woman taken in adultery, not from the pharisee, Jesus, or the woman’s vantage point. Why not look at it from the angle of the people. Why not look at the story of the crucifixion from the standpoint of Mary the mother of Jesus losing a son. What avenues open up when you look at the story of Lot and his wife from the standpoint of Lot’s wife who was asked to give up so much so quickly. And what could we learn if we look at the parable of the laborers not from the standpoint of the laborer who came in the last hours of the day to get a full days pay, but from the standpoint of the workers who worked all day only to see those who spent little time get the same pay.

Dr. Taylor’s approach opens the door to a fresh reading and fresh hearing of the Bible story. Preachers can easily incorporate this idea into their sermons.

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