Overflow vs. Dripping: Making Your Sermon More Than a Class Assignment
For those of us who are called to a preaching ministry, we understand that the art of taking what God has said and presenting it in a way that others may understand and live according to it is no small task.
However, when we have to prepare and deliver a sermon for a class assignment, it’s tempting to treat it as an insignificant duty to check off our list, just like a quiz or homework assignment.
What should be passionate becomes passive, and what God desires to pour out of our hearts comes only from the surface-level of our mind.
This is preaching as a result of dripping.
Let me explain (this illustration is not original to me—I’ve heard it from many different people):
You are a bucket.
The water in the bucket represents the Word of God and the Spirit’s work in our lives and studies.
When water comes out of the bucket, that is our preaching.
Many who communicate God’s Word to others do it as a result of the Bible dripping into their life: there is no real, heartfelt burden, and there is very little studying or time spent in prayer. As a result, the bucket must be shaken out just to get the couple of drops of water out of it. When there is not a strong flow of God’s Word coming into your life, it takes a lot of human effort to attempt to get that truth out through preaching.
However, this isn’t the case for the bucket that has water continuously pouring into it.
This bucket fills up quickly and begins to overflow because it can’t keep in all of the water. The preacher who is constantly filling His life with the refreshing water of God’s Word and is letting the Holy Spirit work on his heart daily will always have a message ready to preach. The sermon he brings to the pulpit will not be something that he struggled to put together—it will be a natural overflow of what God has been putting on his heart.
So next time you have to deliver the Word for a class assignment, don’t look at it like a quiz or homework assignment—because it’s not. It’s an opportunity for God to do in the lives of others the same work that He has already done in your heart.19
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