Pound the Pulpit

When I was in school I remember hearing the fellows make a light-hearted comment on preaching. When you get to a weak point in the sermon, emphasize it with more vigor. It was (is) usually said this way: “weak point, pound pulpit.”

There are a number of thoughts on this to be shared. First, a preacher is to have no weak points in his sermon. Second, pounding the pulpit might be a good way to emphasize, but a good listener will hear the words without the pounding. Third, and the primary point of this post, those who speak the loudest are generally the weakest.

Surely, this last point will not be accepted by all; but, perhaps, at least it will be recognized as having some merit. I have heard countless times a person say something to the effect, “I will not be guilty of that ______.” (and with much emphasis this is said). At the time spoken, I think it is genuinely believed that the person who said this is quite sure of self in saying it. But, I have also noticed, that the loudest speaker, the one who emphasizes his (her) words the most, is the one who generally falls the quickest. It may be that the one who falls did not fall into the trap that another was guilty of, but a hard fall resulted just the same. Why is this?

No hard fast rule, but a thought for reflection. When I was playing ball in school, I noticed that many of the fellows had to convince themselves of certain things. A free safety was not going to be burned on pass coverage, a defensive end was not going to be hooked on an option play, I can hit any curve (breaking ball) thrown to me, and no change-up will catch me flat-footed, and so on. In my mind there was no doubt in me that these young men knew exactly what they were saying and they knew exactly what to do to prevent themselves from being embarrassed. However, I also noticed that many times that the ones who had to convince themselves had much difficulty executing the play and hitting the pitch as desired.

While the loudest and the one with much bravado may not be the weakest or the quickest to fall, be sure to look out. Do not look out in order to watch the fall (and say, “I told you so.”), but look out in order to help, to intercept, to encourage, and to strengthen. Paul said it this way, “Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too” (Galatians 6:1, NET).

#bravado, #preaching, #strength, #weakness