Does Your Preaching Wield a Sword or an Anvil?
Peter Mead more from this author »
Is it just me, or was there an ultimate weapon used in cartoons that isn’t used quite so much in real life? Whether it was a cat chasing a mouse or a bird fleet of foot, sooner or not much later the arch nemesis would bring them into collision with a great heavy anvil. Ouch.
I suppose in real life the anvil has its disadvantages as a weapon. It is probably fairly heavy. Somewhat cumbersome. And it is probably fairly avoidable. What it gains in gravitas it loses in penetrative impact. To put it another way, I’d rather fight a foe with an anvil than an enemy with a blade.
Which brings me to preaching. Some sermons feel like the preacher is trying to reproduce the cartoon impact of an anvil. A massive amount of weighty content delivered as quickly as possible. Much better to sharpen that sermon and preach a single point, rather than trying to deliver the whole container load of exegetical insights. The blade may feel lighter to carry, but it will have a great impact in listeners’ lives.
I need to ponder this afresh before tomorrow. It is so tempting to try to give ‘em everything right between the eyes. In my cartoon-like prayers they will all be stunned and transformed. In reality they will both see it coming and feel annoyingly pushed by it, but without the message penetrating. How can I sharpen my main idea? What can I cut out to make the message do its work in a streamlined way?
The Word of God is sharper than any double-edge anvil. Obviously. May our preaching of His Word have the massive weight of the text behind it, but the sharpness of a deft blade in terms of its focus.