This last weekend was our daughter Anna’s bridal shower. It was an afternoon tea, elegant and pretty. There was a lot of labor put into it and many of you worked hard to help make it special for both Anna and Jenny. I also had a job. I made tea sandwiches. Now this may not seem like the most manly of contributions, but I enjoy cooking and so making tea sandwiches seemed to play to my strength. I made the egg and avocado sandwiches and there weren’t many left I am told, so I guess they were good. It took me a bit of time to make these – one of my favorite parts was after peeling the boiled eggs, I got to use a grater and grate them into a bowl to mix with some other ingredients. I don’t know why I like grating eggs, but I do.
I kind of think preaching is a bit like cooking. There are of course the ingredients that are required – the Word of God and the words I use to declare His Word to you … There is the precision, egg grating type work – studying, reading commentaries, looking at the text alongside other texts. There is the assembly part, it all kind of coming together with the LORD’s help. There is the sermon itself … to be eaten by the congregation, taken in … I am so thankful for my part in all of this.
But I am not really the head cook. I pray that each week, the LORD would bless the preaching of His Word, that the Spirit would be at work among you, that Christ’s Name would be lifted up! I know that He is the best cook – and I am glad to be His servant (sous-chef?) in delivering the meal.
The men who wrote the Westminster Larger Catechism likely did not have tea sandwiches in mind when they wrote about how the preacher is to preach (cook) and how the congregation is to listen to (eat) the Word of God, but their words are worth giving you here as we seek to do our best in our roles:
Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labor in the ministry of the word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory, and their conversion, edification, and salvation.
Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.
May the LORD bless us as we follow Him together.