issue24 preachevenwhenyoudontfeellikeit bsutton

Issue #24: Preach, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Faithful & Fruitful Pastoring

Jonah did not want to preach in Nineveh as the Lord instructed him. He hated the Assyrians because they were enemies of Israel. So, instead of making a long travel to “that great city…Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (1:3).

The Lord, however, would not be ignored. Though Jonah got on a boat and went the other direction, “the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up” (1:4). Then through a series of events, Jonah was thrown into the sea and the Lord calmed the storm.

Jonah, however, was swallowed by a whale, repented of his sins, and was eventually regurgitated on the shores (2:10). Jonah wasn’t going to flee again. This time he obeyed the Lord, went to Nineveh, and preached the impending judgment of the Lord (3:4). And just as he feared, the Ninevites repented.

What’s the point of retelling a story that you already know? I wanted to share this with you to point out one insight that came to recently as I studied this book in preparation to preach. Here it is: The Lord can still bless your preaching even when your heart is not in it. In fact, the Lord can bless your preaching even when your heart wants the opposite outcome that He desires. Jonah didn’t want to preach, and he certainly didn’t want the Ninevites to be saved. Yet, he preached anyways, and the Lord performed his will through a faulty preacher.

I can’t tell you how many times I preached a sermon when I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t feel like going to church, and I didn’t feel like getting into the pulpit. But I did. I did it anyways, and the only way I can do that is because I believe what I just told you. The Lord can perform his work even when you don’t feel like doing the work.

We need to cultivate our hearts. We need to stir our affections and look forward to and desire the work. So, don’t hear me say affections and desires aren’t important. But do hear me say that on those days, brother pastor, that you don’t feel like serving, just know, God can use your efforts all the same. So be encouraged and keep serving.

Be sure to check out my new podcast—Faithful and Fruitful Pastoring. It’s on Spotify and Apple. It’s for pastors and ministry leaders and designed to equip and encourage you for you ministry.