A pastor-mentor and friend of mine just passed along this quote from Kierkegaard’s Practice in Christianity. Nice and necessary to hear time and again.
“Therefore it is a risk to preach, for as I go up into that holy place — whether the church is packed or as good as empty, whether I myself am aware of it or not, I have one listener more than can be seen, an invisible listener, God in heaven whom I certainly cannot see but who truly can see me. This listener, he pays close attention to whether what I am saying is true, whether it is true in me, that is, he looks to see — and he can do that, because he is invisible in a way that makes it impossible to be on one’s guard against him — he looks to see if my life expresses what I am saying. And although I do not have authority to commit to anyone else, I have committed myself to every word I have said from the pulpit in the sermon — and God has heard it. Truly it is a risk to preach!” (XXII.215)
This quote ranks right up there with my favorite from Charles Simeon:
“My endeavor [in preaching] is to bring out of Scripture what is there, and not thrust in what I think might be there. I have a great jealousy on this head – nmever to speak more or less than I believe to be the mind of the Spirit in the passage I am expounding.”
I think I’ll go submissively and soberly work on my sermon.