Note: I am overseas at the moment and will not have any internet. This is a guest post by Michael A. Coughlin. His blog can be found HERE.
Loving people is essential to being a God-honoring preacher. You can very easily search YouTube for open air preachers and find a number of examples of preachers who do not love people. Preaching comes with an element of “you’re in the center.” Unfortunately, for some people, that is the end goal.
A true man of God will neither loathe the attention received from preaching nor covet it, necessarily. Each man may have a different comfort level in that regard. The question to ask yourself is: why are you there? If your answer is only “to glorify God,” then you may be lacking love for sinners which is vital to your Christian life. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost! Is that not your goal as well, dear brother? Why not? I suspect you are not asking God in prayer to break your heart for sinners who are in the same state you once were! God forbid we lack the desire to see people forgiven of their sins! Be not as Jonah!
My dear saint, reaching people must be part of your goal, but not only that. You must love your neighbor as yourself. Are you prepared to love sinners who do not repent and treat them with kindness, mercy and grace? I’m not talking about the violent hecklers, and I’m not saying you do not have a retort for mockers and scoffers of our Great and Marvelous Savior, Jesus Christ, but you need to have a heart which is right with God that really cares about people’s well-being.
The Gospel frees you to love people in a way in which they are not capable of loving you back. Show people your love through your preaching and identify with your hearers as a sinner in need of Christ yourself!
Preacher, you must love your brethren as well. Are you living a nomadic existence without attachment to a local church? Or are you a member, but no one at that church really knows you? If you do not love the brethren enough to fellowship, break bread, pray, listen to the preaching of God’s Word and sing with them – why do you think you love lost people? And why would you want to make more brethren if you do not love the ones you have?
In the next post, we will investigate some key points concerning prayer.