The Word of God has been working in my heart. You might even say it has been flavoring me. Recently, the Word has even been making some deep cuts into my heart, allowing the flavor to soak in more deeply. What I have found though, is that when I allow myself to spend more time in a small passage, those deep cuts feel less like pain, and more like seasoning.
That is a reality, and a blessing, that I’ve come to see in interesting ways over the past few weeks. On Sunday afternoon I talked with my small group about this, and was reminded once again of the blessed opportunity I have each week to spend many hours in a small passage of Scripture. As I prepare each week to preach, I get the privilege of soaking in the Word. So, when I stand up to preach on Sunday mornings, the Holy Spirit has been preparing my heart for that Word all week. I have essentially been marinating in it.
This all points to one of the dirty little secrets of the ministry. The preacher receives (or should receive) the biggest benefit. As I’ve thought about that though, I’ve also come to realize that when I meet you on Sunday mornings, you’ve not been able to spend the same amount of time on that particular passage of Scripture. What I am also coming to realize is that when you haven’t been focused in the passage for a long period of time, it can feel a lot more like microwave cooking..quick, intense, and maybe a shock to the system.
Let’s face it, the Holy Spirit works in his own way, in his own timing. He can apply the Word to our heart just as effectively in the microwave fashion as he can with a slow simmer. But, there is benefit to preparing our hearts for the Word. These are realities that I am wrestling with as I consider communicating the Word of God. I invite you to wrestle with me. As you wrestle, I invite you to spend longer periods of time in smaller portions of Scripture. Marinate. Simmer. Sauté. Use whatever term you want to use for slow cooking/flavoring, but allow the Word of God to do its work on your heart. That has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve found in the ministry…being ministered to by the Word of God. I invite you to join me as we slow cook in the Word, and are ministered to by the Holy Spirit.