Don’t rush through a book by Will Willimon. (Even though he seems to produce a lot in print, especially lately)
That way you delay the feeling of mild sadness that there’s no more left when you finish reading.
From Leading With The Sermon, Willimon provides another proposal about how disciples of Jesus can train themselves to hear and think about biblical proclamation like Christians. This time he bids us let go of the inclination of thinking the primary goal of preaching is about us learning something immediately useful for our daily lives.
To listen faithfully to a Christian sermon calls for a willingness not to receive an immediate, practical, personal pay-off.
Scripture always and everywhere speaks primarily about God and only secondarily, and then often derivatively, about us. Our first reason for being in worship is to focus upon the God who, in Jesus Christ, has risked focusing upon us. We are therefore not present in worship first of all to receive our list of helpful hints for easier living, principles for a more purpose-driven life, motivation to a higher ethic, or keys to personal happiness. Sometimes we do receive such gifts in a sermon, but they are not the main point. The main point is the worship, adoration, praise, and submission to the God who has spoken to us. An always useful God and an instantly applicable sermon are often signs of idolatry, making ourselves and our own endeavours more significant that the Trinity. Moralism from the pulpit, presenting the gospel as human obligation rather that a divinely bestowed gift, something the listener is to think, feel, or do, is usually an indication the preacher has jumped too quickly to the “What’s in it for me?” rather than first to ask the more pressing and faithful “Is there any word from the Lord?” (Jeremiah 37:17 NRSV).
William H Willimon, Leading With The Sermon, Fortress Press, 2020, pgs 51-52.