I preach to myself.
That’s because mostly I am never comfortable preaching at others. Even to others. I wasn’t when I started this journey and years later I still feel uncomfortable preaching. It’s probably kind of silly. I know that. But as a young person, preachers were like, next to God. I had them on pedestals as men (and later, women) closer to God than I’d ever hope to be. More righteous. More Godly. More plugged into God’s power. Wiser. Holy men.
I am old enough now, and I have a lot of preacher friends now, gained over a lifetime of church going, and so I know better. Preachers, most of us anyway, are just people. We have the same struggles as everyone. We fail. We blow the mission. We’re nowhere as good as other people think we are, and no where nearly as good as we think we ought to be.
We’re just people, trying to use our talents and spiritual gifts to serve the God who gave them to us, and the people who trust us in our congregations. Nothing more. We answer what we believe is a call and we struggle with being good enough. Because we we rarely feel good enough. Your preacher won’t tell you that. Because we are all trying hard to meet your expectations. We think somehow it is part of our job. But still, when I stand up in the pulpit, I often ask myself what the heck I am doing there.
So I preach to myself.
I am after all, old enough to have made most of the mistakes, sin most of the sins, struggle through most of the struggles that the average person has in a lifetime. I figure that if I am working through something, likely someone else in the congregation is as well. If it touches me, it will touch someone out there. And mostly that proves true. Hardly a Sunday goes by that someone in my two tiny churches doesn’t tell me that I was preaching to them that morning.
No, I wasn’t. I was preaching to myself, because I needed something. But that’s the thing isn’t it? We’re way more alike than we are different. Most of our struggles and journeys have more in common than not. That’s part of why the bible remains so relevant – things change. But human nature and needs don’t.
I’ve muddled through with this blog for some time. It began as an experiment, because people who visited my church asked me to publish my sermons. I’ve put those sermons out a lot of ways – written them (hard actually, because I preach from notes, not a written sermon), I did audio recordings. I did video recordings. All of it was OK I guess. There’s about 60 of you who follow this blog now – more people than actually come to my two tiny churches. But none of it came natural to me. No more natural than doing sermons. I don’t think I will ever be comfortable telling people what to do from a pulpit, even an internet based one.
One of the things I talk about a lot in my ministry are spiritual gifts. These are gifts that God gives us to do his work. We all get a few of them. If we want to know what God’s will is for our lives, all we have to do is pay attention to the gifts he gives us. Most of us don’t though. We do what we think we want to do, ignoring what God made us to do. And wonder why it doesn’t work out so well.
We, I have been doing that here. I was made a writer. Not a great preacher, reader, TV/YOU Tube star. I write. It’s my gift and my craft. I am a teacher. It’s my gift and my craft. Dumb me needs to use those gifts, be what God made me to be, and stop wasting my energy trying to be something I’m not. So I have been preaching to myself over this for the last few weeks. And I’l give this blog another go. As myself.
It may not be the sermons that my visitors want. It likely won’t be sermons at all, though perhaps a tidbit from my sermons might stumble in the mix. But it will be honest. It will be me. And because I’ve made most of the mistakes, it might even touch you.
I preach to myself.