Sunday, December 16, 2012

Are We Auctioneers or Preachers? - Guest Post by Dr. Brent Cloyd

I have often taken my adult autistic son Brock to an auction. That can be a tedious situation. Before we go I remind him of a few things he should not do at auctions, like not raising his hands or making loud noises. I do not want him bidding on something I do not want to buy. He is a little restless and it is not his favorite place to be but we manage.
Once we went to an auction, I bought what I came to buy, paid for it and left. On the way home Brock and I were talking about the auction. I asked him what the auctioneer was doing at the auction. He told me that the man was preaching. I got a good laugh out of that. But given the fact that my son has spent a lot of time in church, that may not have been a bad deduction. Look at it from my son's perspective. You see a man on a stage with a microphone – he is preaching. Makes sense to me.
But my son's perspective does cause me to think about my own preaching. When I stand to preach am I just making noise? Does it make any sense to the listeners? Am I just spouting off cute sounding platitudes? Does it appear that I am simply trying to convince people of some good idea I have? Does someone think I am just doing this for what they are paying me? Would I go do it somewhere else if I got a better bid? When I preach do people question my integrity or do they believe me to be an honest man? Do they believe that I care for them and wish to communicate the truth and love of God to them? I hope so.
When I stand before a congregation to preach, I hope I have studied the biblical text, struggled with it, and have discerned its correct meaning. I hope that when the teachings of the text make me personally uncomfortable I don’t shy away from it. I hope that I apply the truths of the Bible to my own life before seeking to apply it to the lives of others. I hope that when I preach people receive a fresh and meaningful word from God. When the folks drive home and talk about what happened in church that day I hope no one has mistaken the preacher for an auctioneer.
Dr. Brent Cloyd is the pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Fairfield, Illinois. He is a graduate of both Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Bethel Theological Seminary.

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