1 Corinthians 13:11 states, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” The other day, I reflected on two preachers. Both were considered great preachers during their college years. One preacher used to put together pieces of the “shouting portions” of other preachers and parlayed that into many speaking engagements. However, over the years, his preaching has gotten much more sophisticated. He continued to work on his preaching. He obviously listens to other great preachers of many denominations and has found a way to filter his insights from those into his own preaching in effective and powerful ways. He is by all measures an effective proclaimer of the Gospel. He is still getting many engagements, but his preaching today is deeper, more faithful, and stronger. He certainly “put away childish things” and continues to improve even today. He is a great steward of the gifts that God has given to him.
The Slothful Preacher
In contrast there is another preacher who never listened to many other preachers beside an occasional look at a TV Preacher. His preaching in college consisted of just yelling and shouting. He gained a few speaking engagements out of it. However, over the years, his preaching has not changed one iota. His theological understanding hasn’t changed. He still yells about shallow things. He still does not show any range in his dynamics or in his theological sensitivity. He does not seem to have worked on his craft much, and is still working totally on natural talent. Interestingly enough, he is still considered a great preacher by some, but as always, sloth and lack of hard work catches up with you. In contrast to the previous preacher, he never really grew.
However, God expects us to work on the craft that God has called us to. If you have been called to preach the gospel, you should not be preaching exactly the same way today as you did 15 or 20 years ago. God forbid you still preach like you did in Bible College. Push the bounds, try to get better. God will bless you, and the people will recognize and appreciate the effort. Plus, isn’t that your job as a preacher?