The Bible has a lot to say about how preachers are to preach (2 Tim. 3:16-4:4). It also has some things to say to those who listen. In Luke 18:8 Jesus bids His hearers to take care then how you hear.
Tim Challies has grappled with how to take care in listening to preaching in a blog post entitled Being a Diligent Listener. He writes:
We set high expectations for our pastors, and rightly so, I think. Ministers of the Word have a high calling before God to be his mouthpiece, to bring his Word to his people. We expect that every Sunday we will sit under the pastor’s teaching and learn sacred truths from his mouth. We expect that he will spend his week studying Scripture and digging deeply into God’s Word so that he can teach us something on Sunday that will change our lives. We expect him to be true to Scripture, to make a good presentation of it and to keep us engaged all the while. It is a difficult and often thankless task.
What we consider less often, I think, is that while a pastor bears great responsibility in preparing for and delivering the Word of God each Sunday, the listener shares in the responsibility. The church has no place for an audience. We are all to be involved in the preaching, even as listeners. We may drive home on Sunday muttering about the pastor’s lack of preparation after a less-than-engaging sermon, but how often do we drive away reflecting on our own lack of preparation? How often should we trace our lack of learning or our lack of engagement right back to our own lack of preparation?
You can read the rest of the post here.
As I give myself to preparation for tomorrow’s message in John 7:37-52, may you as well give yourself to the kind of preparation Challies commends. I will meet you somewhere in the middle tomorrow morning, Lord willing.