Straight after his sermon one Sunday, C.H Spurgeon was met by an excited woman. “Oh, Mr. Spurgeon”, she beamed, “that sermon was wonderful.” “Yes, madam,” Spurgeon replied, “so the devil whispered in my ear as I came down the steps of the pulpit.”
Pride is probably the pulpit’s greatest peril. There is no preacher – great or small, lauded or unknown – who will ever be a stranger to pulpit pride.
To any thinking man this pride could almost seem reasonable. The bare fact that a church elevates me to its pulpit outright implies some recognition of giftedness. If one were to reflect on this, things could get quite heady, rather quickly. In the privacy of our hearts Pride could start to strut. Pride might start to boast about my ‘communication skills’, my ‘handling of the Word’, or my ‘passion in the pulpit’. That Boastful Lout would grin broadly about how I – the preacher – am the MVP (the Most Valuable Part) of the local church body.
Pride, however, is a liar. Pride tells half truths, never the whole truth. It is true that the preacher has a gift. But the question Pride forgets to ask is, ‘Who’s gift is it?’ Is the gift actually yours, Preacher? It belongs to you – yes; but who gave the gift to you in the first place? Is your gift inherent, self-generated, part and parcel of your being? Or is your gift – like Timothy’s – nothing less than the “gift of God.”
That phrase changes everything. If our gift is of God there can hardly be a moment’s boasting on our part. Pride must be replaced with praise, and haughtiness with humility. My gift is only borrowed – an ability God has loaned me for the glory of His name.
God will never share His glory with another; He certainly won’t share it with any preacher. So less boasting! Less fishing for compliments. Less proud pangs when we receive a pleasantry about our preaching. Turn your pride into praise and your arrogance into adoration.
Your gift is from God – to Him be all the glory!Tweet