This morning I had the honor of preaching at my local church. While preparing and delivering the message, I was reminded of my helplessness in many issues. Here are some reasons that preaching humbles me.
1. It reminds me of my dependance on the Holy Spirit.
I can do everything right. I have the perfect outline, the best illustrations, elegant form and flawless execution. But I can't change hearts. My preaching is useless chatter without the work of the Holy Spirit. He can overcome my flaws and add potency to my otherwise powerless words.
2. It draws my attention to power of prayer.
Related to that, I can always tell the difference between sermons that are bathed in prayer and sermons that aren't. When I and others pray for the fruitfulness of a sermon, I've never found our prayers to be unanswered. Again, it causes me to realize that I'm just a single, relatively helpless player in something much larger.
3. It makes me realize that I don't have it all figured out.
I don't know how many times I'll prepare to preach from a certain text, only to discover that I'm completely clueless on so many related issues. I often come away from sermon preparation with more questions than answers. And yet, God is always faithful to show me what I need to know and how to communicate it.
4. It makes me grateful for other scholars.
When I don't know something, I often turn to others for help. I'm very grateful for so many wonderful men who studied the Word of God and provide me with insights from it. This includes "famous" people who write books and commentaries. But it also includes people I know personally and are willing to help me understand the Bible.