How long does it take to prepare a sermon? As long as it takes. Get in the seat. Gather your tools. Go to work. And don’t quit until the hard work is done. Think about it. You have left the pulpit feeling bad that you did not prepare better. But you never leave the pulpit feeling you over-prepared. When you offer God your best work, you will sense his smile on you as you preach.
There are several Bible verses that drive my commitment to faithful preaching. They are 1 Timothy 4:16, 2 Timothy 2:15, and 2 Timothy 4:2.
I regularly share these verses with young preachers, when I am asked for a passage of scripture to encourage them in the work.
But there is another passage that reminds me of my charge to preach the word. I rarely share this verse. It is not from the Pastorals. For that matter, it is not from the New Testament.
It is 2 Samuel 24:24.
But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”
David sinned by numbering the fighting men of Israel. It was not wrong that the kind took a census of his army. But there was a subtle but great sin behind this census. Counting the men betrayed the fact that David was not counting on God.
The Lord was displeased with David. And he would punish Israel for David’s sin. But he let David choose the punishment. Three years famine. Three months of persecution from your enemies. Or three days of pestilence.
David responded, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14).
For restoration, the Lord commanded David to offer a sacrifice on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. In obedience, David asked to buy Araunah’s threshing floor, to build an altar on it. Araunah freely offered the land to the king. But David refused. He insisted on paying for the land, because he could not make an offering that cost him nothing.
Of course, this passage has nothing to do with preaching. Yet it does. It addresses anything we do for the Lord. We should follow David’s example and never offer to God something that cost us nothing.
How much more should cost us to preach the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ?
There are three costs you should pay to honor the Lord in your preaching