Blog: Max Dawson
February 25, 2016

I remember the first time my mom heard me preach. It was in 1970. The Emerson Avenue church in Indianapolis allowed me to preach on a given Sunday. When the lesson was finished, mom came up to me and said, “I really enjoyed that, son.”
In mom’s mind, her “fair-haired boy” had done well. Moms like to see their kids do well. I think I was happy that mom was pleased. But my preaching was intended to please God more than please mom. There were others there that day who also gave me words of encouragement. At that point I was just starting out as a preacher and had a long, long way to go. I had only been a Christian for a year and needed all the encouragement I could get.
I have a question this morning about “enjoying” preaching. I will first admit that I often enjoy preaching, whether it is from Benjamin Lee, Kris Emerson, or a young trainee. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with enjoying preaching.
Yet, we have to ask a very basic question: Is the design of preaching to create enjoyment? When I look into God’s word, I have a hard time finding any place where folks lined up at the door and told the preacher how much they enjoyed the message.
And, there is another thing I cannot find. There is no record of any faithful prophet or preacher who ever presented God’s word and then expected people to compliment him on the job he had done. That is not to say that no one ever responded to the preaching.
In , there were some 3,000 people who responded properly to the word of God by being baptized. But there is also when the audience picked up rocks to throw at the preacher. They killed him. I don’t think anyone in was in a hurry to tell Stephen how much they enjoyed his preaching.
The point being made in this brief post is that preaching was never designed by God for the purpose of providing enjoyment to the hearer. Again, while preaching can be enjoyable, its design is to impact the hearts of hearers.
Preaching is designed to “convince, rebuke, exhort, and instruct” (). Sometimes that hurts. Sometimes it is not enjoyable at all–but good was done because a life was repaired, a heart was fixed, a soul was saved.
Author Joe McKeever compared the “enjoyed the sermon” remarks to going to the dentist and saying, “I really enjoyed the root canal.” Preaching, like the root canal, can be very painful to the hearer. But it is necessary.


So, why do we show up on Sunday morning (and evening) if it is not about having an enjoyable experience?
We do more than show up. We gather to worship God, to hear from God, and to fellowship with the saints. We go to serve, to give, to love, to bless, to pray, and a hundred other good reasons.
And if the preaching has been painful and has helped you to be what God wants you to be… then maybe a simple “thank you” to the preacher is sufficient.
Or, better still, no comment at all–just evidence of a changed life.



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