Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sermons And Baseball

I've noticed something over the years:  sermons and baseball are a lot alike.  Of course, baseball is entertainment and church is not.  I do get that.  But think about this for a moment...

In baseball, sometimes a batter will hit a single and only make it to first base.  Fans in the stands notice that and appreciate it, but they don't get too worked up over it.  Other times, he may hit a double.  That's a little more exciting.  Occasionally, a batter will hit a triple.  When he does this, people cheer a little louder.  And on some occasions, he really connects well and hits a home run over the fence.  This really generates a buzz and gets everyone up on their feet. 

Nobody hits a homerun every time they step up to the plate.  Nobody.  Sure, that would be a lot of fun, but it just doesn't happen.  That's not realistic.

The same thing can be said about preaching.  It's hard to hit a homerun every single time we step in the pulpit.  What I mean is this:  some sermons may result in a visible, powerful reaction from the people in the pews, while other sermons may not.  Some sermons may be a like a homerun, and other sermons may be more like a single. 

Consider this from the perspective of those who are sitting in the pews and listening to our sermons.  They may be tired.  They may be distracted.  They may have had a stressful morning before they got to church.  Any number of factors can influence how they are feeling and what they are thinking while we are preaching.  And this can affect how they respond to the messages we deliver on Sunday morning. 

Also, it's important to keep in mind that different topics affect different people in different ways.  A sermon on marriage might connect a lot more with a married couple in their 40's than it does with a widow in her 90's.  A sermon on money may hit home more with a business man in his 50's than with a young lady who is 15.  It's possible that the topic we are preaching on that day does not directly affect everyone the same way.  This can influence how people react to what we are preaching.

Here's what I'm trying to say:  Not every sermon is going to get the whole crowd on their feet cheering at the top of their lungs with tears streaming down their face like crazed fans at the World Series. 

If you're sitting in the pews, some sermons you hear may just be a reminder of something you learned years ago.  Other messages may be heavily convicting.  And then there are those that will set your heart on fire and stir you up in a big way.  It'll probably be different each week.  If the sermon you heard one Sunday morning doesn't stir your soul, just keep in mind that you still did the right thing by being in God's house and you still were encouraged in your faith.  Furthermore, next Sunday's sermon may be EXACTLY what you've needed to hear for years.  It's not going to be the same thing every Sunday, and that's perfectly normal. 

If you're in the pulpit, some sermons you preach may lead to a visible, loud response, while others may lead to stillness and silence.  Also, it's important to know that some people are very private and introverted with their response.  They may not be reacting on the outside, but their mind and their heart may be in overdrive privately as they take in what is being said.  Depending on a lot of different factors, the way people react will most likely be different every week.  So don't get too worked up either way about how people respond.  Just do your job and faithfully preach God's word week in and week out.  How people react to our sermons is between them and God.  It's not about us anyway.

Regardless of whether the sermon is a single or a homerun, it's always worth while to be in God's house with God's people.  That's time well spent every Sunday.  And it's never a waste.  As long as He is being worshipped, His Spirit is moving freely, His word is being preached, and people are bonding closely with Him, it's a win-win for everyone involved.

It's true.  Sermons are a lot like baseball.  And that's perfectly fine with me.

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