I was encouraged recently by something Richard Baxter wrote about the responsibility of preachers to first have their own hearts warmed by God before trying to warm the hearts of others.
I think a minister should take special pains with his heart, before he is to go to the congregation: if it be then cold, how is he likely to warm the hearts of his hearers? Therefore, go then specially to God for life: read some rousing, awakening book, or meditate on the weight of the subject of which you are to speak, and on the great necessity of your people’s souls, that you may go in the zeal of the Lord into his house. [highlight]Maintain[/highlight], in this manner, [highlight]the life of grace in yourselves[/highlight], that it may appear in all your sermons from the pulpit, [highlight]that everyone who comes cold to the assembly, may have some warmth imparted to him before he depart.”[/highlight]
I think the same word of encouragement applies to every believer who gathers on a Sunday for worship.
We come not only to receive, but also to have something to share and contribute. This doesn’t mean that some (maybe even many) Sundays, we won’t drift in on fumes, needy and looking for God to fill us up. But why can’t we go to God with this neediness before Sunday and consider how we might be prepared to stir up others to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). I love that phrase: “Maintain the life of grace in yourselves.” That doesn’t mean we manufacture it. It means we seek it 24-7, not just on the 7th day.
As you prepare your heart to participate in our weekly worship service this Sunday, ask God not only to give you a heart ready to receive what God wants you to hear, but also to warm your heart in such a way that you are ready to share that warmth with others.
Jackson Randall will be preaching from Genesis 39 where we’ll see God continue to go with Joseph “from the frying pan to the fire.” Let’s pray for him as he prepares.
See you Sunday!