I am preaching through Mark’s Gospel on Sunday which means I am being punched in the gut by Mark’s Gospel during the week. Preaching is simple. My church gets the overflow of my devotional time in the book I’m studying every day. Of course there’s no way I can give everything to them the Lord has given me. Five to six days of study would make for a really long sermon—like bring your jammies and pillow long. My hope is that they are studying Mark themselves during the week. My wife takes a day or so to study back over the text I preached the Sunday before and uses the rest of the week to read ahead. I don’t say that to puff her up but I’m thankful she and others are hungry to know God’s Word and go to work in it that the Holy Spirit might do the work of application.
Right now I am gripped by the tremendous power of Jesus. It frightens me in such a way that brings shame and provokes repentance when I sin. It comforts me in such a way that worries and anxieties (to my shame, common vices) are melting away. It fills me with joy in such a way that I’m becoming more eager for the Lord to create opportunities for faith that I might see His power at work again and again. None of this is to my credit. I cannot boast. It is the efficacy of the Word of God. Just open it up and start reading. Stay in a book—endure through the tough-to-read parts and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth (John 16:13). When the Word is preached (even if done so poorly) listen for its truths. Even if but a morsel is shared it will be a feast far more than any banquet the world can offer. If you’re a preacher, don’t be stingy in your study or in your pulpit. If you’re sharing only a morsel of God’s Word but a buffet of your creative insight you are doing your hearers a terrible disservice and you are starving yourself of the supremely satisfying sufficiency of God’s Word. Dig in!