Lesson 2 -- second quarter 2000
March 12, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
Have you ever said, "What a boring speaker"? Or perhaps something like, "I don't know why they ordained him; he has neither depth nor perception." Or how about this one: "I never get anything from his public talks." I have.
As a public speaker, I want to be interesting and worth listening to. I want people to anticipate my talks. I want to be perceptive and practical in my presentations. I could go on and on, I suppose, but the point is this: It is so easy to miss the real mission and purpose of any Christian teacher, preacher, speaker. I can miss it so easily as the speaker...and I can miss it so easily as the listener.
Can you imagine listening to Paul preach? "I...came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom.... I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom...." If a brother spoke publicly like this, we would have quite the array of thoughts and attitudes...and comments also, no doubt. And they likely would not be all that complimentary and charitable.
Am I being too uncomplimentary and uncharitable here? If so, it is no more directed at you than at myself. The fact remains that I believe we often want to be entertained in our listening. When was the last time I went to a service because I needed nourishment, challenge and correction? When was the last time you listened to a preacher because you wanted to hear what God had to say? "Last time," indeed!
Now let's backtrack to the second paragraph so I can ask you this: What ought to be the real mission and purpose of any Christian teacher, preacher or speaker...and listener? I think our lesson title makes the answer plain.
Know God's Wisdom. That's it! No more; no less. As Paul put it, "Declaring unto you the testimony of God."
When a Christian stands before an audience to preach, teach or otherwise speak, he has the holy duty of presenting the revealed wisdom of God. He should be concerned with presenting the message in a coherent, interesting, compelling way, but that should not be his primary focus. No, I am not excusing inadequate preparation or careless presentation. While it is true that the vehicle can distract from the message, it is also true that the vehicle must never be allowed to become or supplant the message. So, speakers, get the Message! And get it well. All other elements of your public presentation are secondary.
When a Christian sits in an audience...it should be to listen for the Message from on high. If I as a listener get distracted by the speaker's stuttering or lack of polish, that becomes my problem just as much as his. If I am turned off by his obvious fear or his dull presentation, his "failure" has become my loss...and that's my fault. So, listeners, get the Message! And get it well. All else is secondary.
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