I’m impressed by the way Jesus set high expectations for those who chose to follow Him closely. Humanly speaking, His disciples weren’t all that impressive a group. But their relationship to the Lord resulted in them achieving true greatness.
When preparing sermons, I make it a practice to ask myself whether I’m being small-minded or big-minded in terms of my expectations. Do I still feel that people’s close relationship with the Lord will make them truly exceptional people, spiritually speaking, or do I presume my listeners can be expected to fail to meet His expectations of Kingdom significance?
Most of the sermons I hear are small challenges compared to our Lord’s, “Leave your nets, come follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men!”
“I really don’t like listening to you preach,” a fellow minister once said to me. “In fact, if I know you’re going to be preaching somewhere, I make it a point to stay away!”
I guess it was an insult. Anyway, his further point was that he felt I had expectations that were consistently beyond what he felt were reasonable.
I agree that to set too high a standard would be unfair and un-Christlike. And this pastor’s words have been a caution for me against doing that.
But I believe ministers need to avoid the other extreme as well—preaching as a representative of Jesus, and issuing challenges that are far below the minimum He would ask of His followers.
Please click here to visit David Mains’ Sermon-Coach.com website.
You will also find a variety of resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries website. Please click here.