I’ve had this occur numerous times over the last couple of years. I’m not sure if it says more about me or the church service and preacher. I can’t help wondering whether it’s my expectations of what it is to go to church and worship that leaves me wanting. Nevertheless, I occasionally walk out having that sense of needing to do more in the coming seven days.
I’m a preacher myself, so I know I need to work hard on the application of my sermons. The explanation of the Bible and understanding of the passage can be worked through slowly or quickly but application needs to be there…somewhere. And it is within this application section that I need to know that the burdens I’ve been carrying for the last however long can be lifted. That my cares can be taken care of. That I can hope and know God is in control of all things.
I need to be reassured that I don’t have to do anything more this week to have God love me more.
I know God. I know God because of my faith in Jesus and his work on the cross. Through that work he has enabled me to have my sin forgiven and be in a relationship with Him.
I understand this will mean I will need to change. Following Jesus means growing as a disciple. This happens over time and with the Lord’s help.
But when I am weary from a week where I know I’ve sinned throughout, where I didn’t read my Bible as much as I’d like, where things haven’t gone right, then I come to church seeking comfort, seeking encouragement, and to be reminded that God still loves me and is taking care of me.
Of course, I may know this at a cognitive level. I may know this at an emotional level. But I need to know that this is the case again this week. Just as it was the last.
This reminder may happen through the Scripture passage, or through the words of the preacher in explaining the text, or through the application part of the sermon. Whatever way it may be it needs to occur in a way where the application doesn’t mean I walk out with more to-dos this week.
Because guess what?
When Jesus died he didn’t add a single to-do to my list. He took many, many, many to-dos away though. When Jesus died he didn’t add guilt to my burdens, he took them all and dealt with them.
So, preacher (and I speak to myself as much as any other), preach Jesus. Preach Jesus in such a way as to articulate what he’s done without adding more to my week and my to-do list. Please.