May those of you who gather to hear God’s word tomorrow witness proclamation that is based on love of God and hearers, not based on love for the act of speaking.
From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 32: What is the summary of the Ten Commandments for preachers? – Loving the Lord your God and your neighbour, not your preaching is the goal of the law.
Preachers are ambitious. At least, we should be. If we don’t long that people will meet the risen Christ through our ministry, then what do we want to achieve through preaching? We need to root out that false godliness which wants little and is content with even less. Some reason that as long as we’ve preached orthodoxy, then God must be glorified. Isaiah 55:11 is quoted as the proof text of this dismal spirituality. Hearers might be left feeling empty, but our consolation — and we hope theirs, too — is that the Word will not return to God empty. But if our hearers are not presented with Christ in such a way that they are compelled to receive Christ by faith, then what has been achieved? A preacher who aims at merely saying what the Word says, with no prayerful longing that the Word would bear fruit, isn’t a God-honoring servant.
The danger lurks, though. Every preacher has experienced it to different degrees. Give your heart to preaching and expect it to love you back and fulfill all of your needs, and you’ll be bitterly disappointed. Preaching doesn’t love anyone. You can’t expect that it’ll satisfy your heart. Any preacher who seeks to find his life in his pulpit ministry is kidding himself all the way to idolatry. Preaching will pass.
The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 162.