I sometimes think grilling the perfect steak or hamburger and preaching a sermon have some similarities and differences. I enjoy serving the meat of God’s Word through written word and preaching. I love taking the time to create and craft the “perfectly grilled” message (through much prayer, study and listening) and sharing it with whomever will consume it. However, I do not want the recipients of the messages I write or preach to leave full and satisfied. I actually want them to be hungry and wanting more. Why? You may think, Isn’t the job of the pastor to feed the people? Yes and no. Pastors have a responsibility and calling to preach the Word of God, to feed the people He has put under their care and we are to do it with excellence. I approach each sermon or devotional with the intention of challenging and encouraging the individual and to glorify God. As Pastors we need to preach the Word of God carefully, prayerfully and clearly.
I have heard individuals say, “I come to church to fill up my spiritual gas tank so I can get through the rest of the week.” I have also heard some say, “I am just not getting fed at my church.” I personally struggle with these statements. On one hand I agree, the sermon should “be enough” to satisfy and fill up, but on the other I do not think the sermon should be the only spiritual food one consumes. As Pastors we want people to be hungry when they leave a worship service. We want their hunger or desires to be stirred up and left longing for more God in their life. I call this holy dissatisfaction. I equate this with the feeling of being hungry and eating but not satisfying your hunger. When someone eats, the hunger pangs may subside for a moment but you are far from full and satisfied. You want more! This is how I view the sermon. It is food (hopefully good food) that causes the pangs to go away for a moment but it ultimately leaves you longing for more. It is not meant to fill up, it is meant to stir up.
A pastor is a shepherd (or undershepherd) and one of his jobs is to bring the people under his care to the place where they can feed themselves… i.e. green pastures where they can graze and feed. I, nor any other Pastor cannot force one to go this place and we certainly cannot make you eat, but we can lovingly direct you to the place where you can eat all you want. I have said to people in the past, “If you are depending on me or anyone else's sermons to be enough spiritual food to get you through the week, then you are going to be one undernourished and weak believer.” This is why it is important to read God’s Word, pray, and seek out individuals who can “do life” with you. Sunday is not the day for filling up on God’s Word. Sunday is the day to stir up a hunger for God’s Word so that you can feed on Him for the rest of the week.
Hopefully this message has been “grilled” into your heart… Take charge of your spiritual diet and feed on the Word of God; this is where true feeding and satisfaction is found.