January 27

1 Corinthians 1:14-18

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.” vs. 17

Pastors who can preach with eloquence are highly prized in our congregations, and if they can throw in a dash of humor they are exalted. The best of them have their sermons live-streamed into multiple settings so that even more folks can be enthralled by their well-honed and polished deliveries. Such pastors take pride in their craft and love it when people say their sermons are the heart of the worship experience. Now all that would be fine if the Church were just another human organization, but it’s not! Paul knew that and seems to take pride in his lack of eloquence. He didn’t want people following him, he wanted them to focus their eyes on the crucified Christ. The good news wasn’t about Paul, it was about Jesus! Now obviously there are some subtleties involved here. No pastor is called to be an inept preacher–lack of eloquence does not guarantee that Christ will be seen! And perhaps what people in the pews crave even more than eloquence is authenticity! They want a preacher in whom they can see the power of the incarnate Word and who consistently points to Jesus. And ultimately people do know the difference between self-glorification and glorifying God. And when preachers know the difference, blessings abound!

Thought for the Day: What is an authentic preacher?

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