Andy Stanley, in his book Communicating for a Change, talks about a thing called “the preacher’s burden.” He says it’s the thing that “if you don’t preach it, you will die.” The thing that your audience has to hear.
I was supposed to preach on Friday in chapel at the Seminary, and I had prepared like never before. I had studied the passage. I had prepared my outline. I had boiled it down to one thing. I had the perfect illustration. Then the phone rang.
It seems there is someone in town that the Seminary wants to preach on Friday instead. The guy is part of an organization that helps the Seminary a lot, and they called me today (Wednesday) to let me know that they want him to preach on Friday, the day that has been on the calendar for me to preach since the start of the term.
So what do I do with the burden? I am convinced the Seminary students, professors (including me), and administration need to hear the sermon I was going to preach. I have the burden. I might explode if I can’t tell them what I felt God had told me to say.
They tell me that I will get a chance to preach next term. It will be my turn again, I’m sure. But in the meantime, I guess I have to put into practice the concept that God taught me and gave me a passion for while I was preparing to preach. Could it be that the message was more for me than for the Seminary students?
So what do you do with the preacher’s burden when it turns out that you don’t get to preach it? Are there other ways to get the message out?