Hearing and Doing


It’s Sunday. You and yours just made it to church. No breakfast. Through the hymns and the choruses, offering and message, thoughts of lunch come to mind, and finally being able to settle into your easy chair for a long afternoon nap. The words of the sermon drift over you without really making an impact, because that’s not where your mind is. We’ve taken the whole service and sermon for granted. It’s ok, you think, I can just pick it up later in the week on the app. We hear it, but it doesn’t register. It’s just noise.

That may not be the extreme to which James referred, but it is often the case in our modern church. We may demand the preacher spend all week putting together a riveting message to tickle our ears, but when the time comes it attention is elsewhere. We hear, but seldom do.

I happen to have a really good preacher that I listen to every week. He is available to listen to at betterlife.church every week. What engages me work him isn’t his scholarship, though he does come up with something interesting almost every week. He is passionate, and jas that ability to speak directly to your soul, where you are, just enough to make you uncomfortable. I feel that is the mark of a good preacher.

I would be curious if you feel the same way about you preacher. Feel free to shamelessly plug him or her in the comments below. But a preacher is only as good as his listeners. A mark of a good listen is one who puts into practice what they hear. And this is James’ point. Don’t just be a hearer. Practice what you’ve learned. Put this good message into life so that it is not lost between your ears.

Heavenku Father, help us to put into practice what we’ve heard and read. We know it’s not all on our preachers to incite us to Christian Service. That ability comes from our love and obedience to You. Help us every day to be more willing and able to serve you in our calling. Thank you Jesus for calling us out of the world into your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Deep Sea Diving

Preparing a Sermon is like deep sea diving. You have all of your gear prepared, checked, and put on by your professors and mentors. You take the plunge into the deepest, most interesting texts that you believe carry the most meaning relevant to the people you are preparing to speak to. You dive into word studies, original languages, dictionaries and commentaries. You turn over every rock, even spaces between the rocks, examining and studying to discover every coral of meaning. Then, as you begin to come back up, your writing and editing, your practice and recording to make sure you get every word, every pause just right, you begin to feel more confident that this is the Word of the Lord and people are going to be impacted in an insightful and meaningful way. People will be moved beyond words and march up the aisle, begging to know more about the Good News. Just ahead of you, you see the sunlight gleaming off the the surface and you know this message will rock the house.

Only to have some person in the back shake your hand on their way out and say, “Better luck next week preacher!”