As a preaching minister I often have to slow down my study time. If I am not careful I will so quickly read and pray through the text and survey the pertinent literature that I will only see and hear what I want to see and hear.
This is especially tempting to me because I am naturally a fast reader who can cover pages quickly. I would love to tell you I am a fast runner, too, but I can’t, so I will have to settle with being a fast reader.
It’s cool being able to read fast enough to read a good sized volume in one day. However, my point is that only when I slow down my sermon writing process will I be able to see and hear things from a new perspective. My ability is sometimes a hindrance.
Throughout my current sermon series on Mark’s gospel I have tried to slow down and open my mind. The result has been seeing things I have never seen before. And that has been, in some cases, nothing less than disturbing to my comfort zone. I think this quote from John Stott captures my thoughts.
“We have to open our minds wide enough to risk hearing what we do not want to hear. For we have been taught to come to the Bible for solace. Does not Paul himself write of ‘the encouragement of the Scriptures’ (Rom. 15:4)? So naturally we cherish the hope that through our Bible reading we shall be comforted; we have no wish to be disturbed. Hence we tend to come to it with our minds made up, anxious to hear only the reassuring echoes of our own prejudice.”
I Believe in Preaching, p. 186
You are worthy of lingering conversations and deliberate focus.
Slow me down.
Open my heart and mind that I may see You anew; that my knowledge of You will ever grow.
Give me courage to embrace what You reveal to me.
Help me to not fear when You “disturb” me.
May my time of study be a time of worship.
In Jesus’ name,