My weekend emails regularly contain homiletical offers, including:
- Sermon for tomorrow—immediate access!
- Sermon for this Sunday. Reliable. Professional. Easy.
- Sermons freshly written for the Pentecost season.
- Sermons professionally written for every Sunday.
Based on the subject lines, a red-letter market thrives for preachers interested in purchasing Saturday Night Special Sermons.
In full disclosure, I often borrow from others in sermon preparation. After 2,000 years of Christendom, no one achieves originality. Dr. Fred Craddock, who taught homiletics at Candler School of Theology, warned, “He who steals from me steals twice.” And Fred probably got that statement from someone else!
However, preaching store-bought sermons as homemade homilies smacks of intellectual dishonesty and spiritual slothfulness. Like Esau, clergy that settle for “reliable, professional, and easy” sermons trade their birthright for porridge.
Preachers worth their salt labor over proclaiming the Gospel in a unique time and place to a particular people and parish. The integration of Word and World requires a pastor to stand with one foot in the sanctuary and another in the street.
Like Jacob at the Jabbok, faithful ministers wrestle with the Lord and struggle with the text. We limp away from the encounter, sharing with others our hard-won experience.
A homemade homily prepared with love and preached with faithfulness may not be “professionally written,” but it inspires the hearts, minds, and souls of God’s saints.