THE FOURFOLD THANKS OF THIS PREACHER
Obviously, one of the most significant tasks of a shepherd is to feed the flock. And for this under-shepherd, feeding the flock on the green pastures of God’s Word is both a joy and a privilege. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to offer you, the congregation, my fourfold thanks as it relates to preaching here at First Baptist Church.
First, I want to thank you for the hunger and appetite you demonstrate for the Word of God. With every Bible that is brought and opened, every head-nodding affirmation that is given, every “Amen” that is voiced, every attentive posture that is struck, every note that is taken, I witness a people who sit weekly in submission to the Word of God as it is preached. Sadly, there are many congregations today who have “itching ears,” who have accumulated for themselves “teachers to suit their own passions,” and who have “turned away from listening to the truth and wandered off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). But thanks be to God, that’s not true of you!
Second, I want to thank you for the continual encouragement so many of you give to me on a weekly basis. Your comments, notes, emails, text messages, phone calls, and hallway conversations mean more than you’ll ever know. What a joy to preach to a congregation who wants to hear the Word and who appreciates hearing the Word. And what a blessing it is to be spurred on to keep elevating the Word of God and to keep exalting the God of the Word.
Third, I want to thank you for the time you afford me to study God’s Word. Your willingness to support me financially allows me the time and opportunity to devote myself to the solitude of study, contemplation, meditation, and prayer. And your willingness to support our other staff members, and their willingness to shoulder other responsibilities, gives me periods of the day where I can immerse myself in the study of God’s Word. Many preachers do not have the luxury of being paid a full-time salary by the church or having fellow ministers and staff to help care for the needs of the flock. I know because I’ve been in those situations before, so I recognize the blessing this is and I am extremely grateful for it.
Fourth and finally, I want to thank you for your prayers. Many of you regularly and faithfully pray for me. You plead with the Lord on my behalf, and the Lord graciously hears and answers your prayers, helping me throughout the week as I study and on Sunday as I preach. How thankful I am for a praying congregation, because without the help of the Spirit, my preaching would be empty and powerless. Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of the nineteenth century, was once asked about the secret to his success in preaching. Spurgeon simply replied, “My people pray for me.” I say, “Amen, Mr. Spurgeon.”
Thank you, First Baptist Church! I love you; I love preaching the Word of God to you; and I love hearing and obeying the Word of God with you!