Preaching is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. Though I am not sure how it could be proven, some have articulated that preaching one sermon is as emotionally and psychologically taxing as an eight-hour workday. If you are like me, you know you should rest in the promise that His Word does not return void, yet you often wish you had said things differently. Doubt and insecurity can creep in. There is also the spiritual reality that you are susceptible to attacks from the Enemy. Jonah was depressed and wanted to die after the great revival the Lord used him to spark. The apostle Paul said he had to beat his body into submission after he preached.
With that as a backdrop, here are five messages that pastors dread hearing after preaching. Pastors, I am going to hypothetically respond in ways you have been tempted to respond, but have loved people too much to do so. Though my list varies a bit from his, I must give credit to my boss, Thom Rainer, for initially posting a blog on this subject.
1. You used that illustration before.
Yes. Yes, I did. I preached my guts out for 35 minutes and used one 2-minute illustration again. I am sorry you were unable to absorb any of the other 33 minutes because I am such an idiot for reusing an illustration. If you want to go complain to the worship leader about singing some of the same songs, he is over there. Oh wait, you actually only complain when he sings a new song. Hold on, let me write this down so I won’t disappoint you: No new songs, but only new illustrations.
2. I am going to send you a sermon/article by (insert famous pastor name).
Oh, please do. I will love spending my afternoon trying to figure out which parts of the article you really wanted me to read and which parts you are saying contradict my message. I can’t wait. Can you send now so I can read it over lunch with my wife?
3. Why did you not announce this?
My bad. I totally forgot to be emcee today. Forgive me; I was trying to be pastor. I know some would prefer I spend more time in the bulletin and less time in the Bible. Are you one of those people?
4. I wish you would preach on …
Hmmm. Thank you so much. Feel free to ask the Lord to lead me in that direction. When I do preach on that, will you listen then?
5. I want to talk to you about (insert some minor issue).
So after hearing the pure, faultless, and perfect Word of God, you want to talk about soap being out in the bathroom? After remembering the great sacrifice of Jesus, you want to talk about the bulletin being off-center?