I am thinking here of those comments that are just thrown out by a preacher in the course of his preaching. They are not an essential part of the message but are just casually thrown out as the man preaches. They are like tasty cakes which are put on the table whilst the children are supposed to be eating their main meal. They cannot concentrate on the meal because their attention is captivated by the cakes. Similarly, throw-away comments divert the attention of the congregation from the main meal of the message.
So what are throw away comments? They are statements about people or situations which cause curiosity but do not enlighten the understanding of the Word. Sometimes these comments cause annoyance to someone and therefore cut them off from listening to the message. At other times they just get people’s attention away from the message. Some or all of the congregation are left thinking about the preachers view of some person or issue. Or they are just left pondering: “Why did he say that?”
Through all this the people are led away from concentrating on the Word and Satan is happy. He is happy because the people have been taken away from being instructed in and fed on the Word of God.
What would be some examples? Comments about Bible versions which would rile different people. Or making reference to how someone in the congregation will respond to a certain issue. Or revealing your personal views on a subject which has no bearing upon the message.
So if you are a preacher I urge you to be on your alert with regards to the use of throw-away lines. Your responsibility is to preach the Word. To achieve this you marshal all your material so that the Word is made plain and digestible for the people. You are bringing people’s attention to the Word of God so that they may hear the voice of God. To that end, in preaching we must be ruthless with ourselves to make sure that no throw away lines emerge which spoil the message and take people away from the Word.
(Originally published at Venabling on 26th September 2013)