Monday, September 08, 2008

In Which Direction Do You Preach?

The family is back from a week at the Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention in Bangor, Norther Ireland and a week of vacation celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary. It was a fabulous time in N. Ireland, Scotland and London. Without question, N. Ireland and Scotland boasts some of the most gorgeous countrysides and vistas on the planet. And more beautiful than that, both countries are home to some of the most hospitable people I've ever met, warm and inviting in every way. We're deeply grateful to the Lord for our time away and for the fruit He bore in our family through it.

Of the many nuggets and morsels we were treated to, the following quote is one I've pondered since first reading it. I have brother William MacKenzie to thank for directing my attention to it, and I hope it's thought-provoking for you as well.
As preachers, they were all remarkable. There are some who preach before their people, like actors on the stage, to display themselves and to please their audience. Not such were the self-denied preachers of Ross-shire. There are others who preach over their people. Studying for the highest, instead of doing so for the lowest, in intelligence, they elaborate learned treatises, which float like mist, when delivered, over the heads of their hearers. Not such were the earnest preachers of Ross-shire. There are some who preach past their people. Directing their praise or their censure to intangible abstractions, they never take aim at the views and the conduct of the individuals before them. They step carefully aside, lest their hearers should be struck by their shafts, and aim them at phantoms beyond them. Not such were the faithful preachers of Ross-shire. There are others who preach at their people, serving out in a sermon the gossip of the week, and seemingly possessed with the idea that the transgressor can be scolded out of the ways of iniquity. Not such were the wise preachers of Ross-shire. There are some who preach towards their people. They aim well, but they are weak. Their eye is along the arrow towards the hearts of their hearers, but their arm is too feeble for sending it on to the mark. Superficial in their experience and in their knowledge, they reach not the cases of God’s people by their doctrine, and they strike with no vigour at the consciences of the ungodly. Not such were the powerful preachers of Ross-shire. There are others still, who preach along their congregation. Instead of standing with their bow in front of the ranks, these archers take them in line, and, reducing their mark to an individual, never change the direction of their aim. Not such were the discriminating preachers of Ross-shire. But there are a few who preach to the people directly and seasonably the mind of God in His Word, with authority, unction, wisdom, fervour, and love. Such as these last were the eminent preachers of Ross-shire.


Anonymous said...

Thabiti, good to see you back. How is the island holding up during the hurricane season? Annie and I have been praying for you all.

Tim said...

Hey Thabiti,
(This comment isn't directly related to this post, but I didn't necessarily see a better place to post this...)
I've really enjoyed your blog for a while now, and had a question...
Do you have a copy of your manuscript from T4G?
I'm writing a paper tying Racial Reconcilation and an already/not yet (inaugurated) eschatalogy, and I wanted to cite your talk at T4G.
I haven't seen any transcriptions of the talk online, so I thought i'd ask you personally.

Laura said...

Pastor T... heavens. Just read through your article on Boundless, and even though I heard your T4G talk, let me just say that the whole concept still blows me away. It gets my brain going a million miles an hour, thinking, "What if this could really happen? What if we could actually get rid of race as a factor in our thinking? What if... ?"

Thanks again and again for your work in this area, brother.

Anonymous said...


I see you have a pray for Hani of China insert. I am an American and I visited some of their villages in Yunnan, China in '07. I will be in prayer for their salvation and life as a minority people group in China. I pray that more Hani who have been brought to Christ will share the good news with their unsaved brethren.

Paul Nevergall said...

Thank you for the quote...

I think this is useful not only for the preacher and leader who teaches a flock, but also the individual who witnesses one-on-one.

As someone who falls under the latter catagory, the timing was very good. Thank you again!

Unknown said...

I would hope that I preach from/out of the Word and into the hearts with well aimed arrows carried by the wind of the Spirit.