5 “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ….”
2 Corinthians 10:5b (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
Somewhere in the history of the church, a preacher used a phrase I’ve heard other preachers use countless times over the years: “The Relentless Approach of the Sabbath.” Those words may not mean anything to you, but let me assure you they strike terror in the heart of every minister. What those words mean is clear: When you’re a preacher, Sunday is coming, regardless if you’re ready or not.
When the appointed day arrives and eleven o’clock rolls around, well, there are going to be dozens (maybe hundreds) of eyes looking at you and expecting you to deliver a word from the Lord. And there’s nothing sadder in this world than a preacher without a sermon.
Now that I also write a weekly column, I have another weekly deadline. I aim to e-mail my stories to the editor by two o’clock on Friday afternoon. It’s a very satisfying feeling to hit the “send” button and fire off my finished devotional each week. But the days and hours leading up to that time can be pretty wretched when I can’t decide what to write.
A few weeks ago I was having a hard time coming up with a sermon topic. But then I opened a book I hadn’t looked at in weeks, and a tiny piece of paper fluttered to the floor. On it was a sermon idea I’d literally scribbled in a moment of haste on the first scrap I could put my hands on. I don’t remember when I wrote the words, and I’d forgotten the idea I’d written down.
But from the hastily recorded sentence grew an entire sermon, a lesson that was preached to almost 200 people. And afterwards I had some folks tell me the sermon had been a great help to them. All those good results flowed from an idea I’d almost lost.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that an idea can be a very important thing. Sometimes, I believe, an idea can be a gift from God. Something I’ve come to realize is that an idea is a fragile and fleeting thing. A life-changing thought can be lost into eternity if you don’t take time to record it while it’s fresh. That’s why we need to write down an idea when we have one.
So keep a pencil and paper handy, and never be hesitant to jot down a quick note, no matter how messy or rushed. The idea that the Lord gives you today quite possibly will enable you to do His will in the future.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher and his wife have taken a rare Sunday off today to travel to Tennessee.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 19).