I had the chance to preach at Seminole Presbyterian Church in Tampa yesterday. After the sermon there was a song of response, and I headed for the front door. This way one can “intercept” most folks as they try to get out the door. In addition, going forward immediately gives others in the congregation a chance to speak briefly with the pastor.
One man, approaching slowly with a cane, matter-of-factly spoke, “My toes are all bloody.” To which I obviously responded something like, “Excuse me..did you have surgery recently…?”
He said, “No, they’re bloody because you’ve been stepping all over them.” Then I realized his metaphor.
That’s really the kind of reaction I hope for when I preach: conviction. Most of the time people just say “Good sermon.” Translation=”I agreed with what you said.” But preaching so that people agree with you is pretty much worthless. And expecting such preaching is equally as worthless.
Preaching should drive the hearer to repentance and faith. The final goal is not stepping on toes. The final goal is to have people see Christ, run to Him, rest in Him and respond to Him by offering Him their daily lives (Rom 12). But we don’t do that when we simply “agree” with what was preached. We need to be challenged to repent, and that means hearing hard things. Not the things we do right, but those we do wrong. Not the things we agree with, but sometimes the things we don’t.