Ray Ortlund has given us a very valuable series of messages on preaching.
Ortlund looks at Paul’s decision in 1 Corinthians to not preach with the cleverness of man. Clever speech is rhetoric. When Paul went to preach to a group of people, his concern was what they needed to hear. Content was his goal. When a rhetorician goes to speak, his primary concern is who his audience is, not the content. Rhetoric is his goal. Paul understood that the only value of rhetoric was to point audiences to his own abilities. Above all else, God needs men who are crucifed to themselves to carry his Word to the world.
Pastors also must have a desire to see their people grow. They are not to despise their people, or complain about them, rather they must have sincere and earnest desire to see their people grow in sanctification, and flourish in their relationship with Christ. A pastor’s congregation is his testimony to present to Christ in the last day. What an awesome responsibility and priviledge it is to be entrusted with the care of God’s people.
Pastors must also delight in their weaknesses. It is only when a pastor is weak that God can be glorified with his successes. If we were strong then we would take glory away from God. When a pastor boasts, he should boast in his weakness, which reveals the strength of God. Weakness is where we recieve power from God.
This is a very encouraging, clarifying and challenging trio of lectures. These were delivered at this years Mullins Lectures.