Recently I found a new word, serendipity, the meaning of which is, "The art of finding valuable things one is not looking for." The minister who develops this art and gathers sermon materials, at times in remote and unexpected places and under strange and unusual circumstances, is one who is developing a treasure of thought and inspiration. We often hear reference to the homiletic consciousness which all ministers must develop. To the young worker it is at first difficult to be consciously gathering likely sermon material all the while. But soon this ability is developed to the extent that it becomes second nature to him, as it were. He soon becomes master of the art to such an extent that even while not particularly on the lookout for sermon material he will find it.
Every one of us needs a wealth of facts and illustrations from which to draw, but it is only by constant gathering that this can be accomplished. The fruitage of such endeavor will be powerful sermons which will draw men and women near to God and create a deep interest and respect for His Word.
It cannot be the will of God to have His matchless truth presented in the same way over and over again. It is not well to use the same illustrations and the same outline for a sermon over a period of years. It is not best to present the message in the same way each time to an audience, for such a practice is uninspiring for both minister and people.
We have a glorious message of matchless truth from the God of heaven, a message designed especially for this hour. It deserves our deepest, most prayerful study. When clothed in its real beauty and radiant with the light of heaven, when given from a Spirit-filled heart and spoken by lips touched with holy fire, the message will appear to many in its true light, as God intended it should. Under such preaching, hundreds will break the bonds which hold them to this world.
Alone with God in study-what a sacred privilege ! What an honor ! It is here in the quiet hour of meditation and prayer that God reveals His message to the minister. Miracles take place as through mortal clay direction is given, and an effectual ministry results. May we give the message its right place, and study and work for the approval of Heaven. Achievement may be attained in our ministry that will exceed all that we have hoped or dreamed. We are instructed to expect great things of God. But only as we put our best into study, and give the message its true place before the minds of men, can we expect the more abundant blessing of Heaven in our work.
Those who stand before congregations to give the advent message should be filled to overflowing with the fulness of its truth, and be able to deliver it in a clear, simple, logical way which will captivate the minds and hearts of men. Only by prayerful study and wise planning will this be realized. Then the church will receive from its ministry all that God intends it should.