August 4, 20150 comments
About nine years ago, I preached through the Gospel of Mark. It was my very first sermon series. On Sunday I was there again in Mark 6, preaching a little differently. Whereas the first time through I went story-by-story, incident-by-incident, these years later (and with the help of Kenneth E. Bailey in his excellent book, The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament) I connected the story of King Herod and Jesus. Bad Shepherd who hosted a banquet of death and Good Shepherd who hosted a banquet of life. From day one of sermon preparation last week, I was so excited about the text.
But here's the tough part. How many times in my lifetime will I have the privilege of preparing and then preaching that particular text of Scripture? The old song "We May Never Pass This Way Again" comes to mind. And it's sad.
The main thing of course is that every single sermon gets to do the same thing -- point to our beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ. But when we sing that old hymn, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise," I find myself substituting, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to preach!"
So now it's on to this week. The Shepherd in Matthew 18:10-14. And aware that this is probably the only time in my life that I get to be here. Lord, please help me to make it worthwhile for the people who come this week to worship.