The Definition of Insanity

Every now and then I come across an article which is pure-bliss.  This is one of them.

My life (for some of you who know what has been going on with our son’s accident) over the past 3 months has been turned on its head.  It’s difficult to plan even one week ahead. Soon we will be taking care of our disabled son.  The house will likely need altering.  There are so many unknowns. At the same time there is a very active church to lead.  And staff to watch over.  And broken, hurting people to care for.

Every week.

And amidst all of this chaos, there is the difficult, pressing duty of preparing to preach the Word of God every Sunday.  Right now I’m in the gospel of John.  It’s all about Jesus and the wonderful, glorious and abundant life he promises to all who believe in him.  It’s life and death stuff.  I look into the eyes of the congregation each Sunday. I know there are some who are sitting there who need this more than they need the air they breathe.  Eternity weighs in the balance.

But preparing for that message – week after week – is hard, gruelling work.

So thank you Jared Wilson, for this wonderful post that you put up for people like me.


Pastor, every Sunday, over and over again, without fail, stubborn and convicted, you take to that pulpit and pin all your hopes on the gospel in your preached text. You aren’t trusting your rhetoric, your well-turned phrases, your homespun stories, your hokey jokes. You aren’t trusting your emotional appeals, your special pleadings, your creative context, your fog and lasers or your eighteen verses of “Just As I Am.” You leave all the good news out on the field, praying the seed will find purchase in softer soil than the week before.

You look up from your closing prayer and see, yet again, blank faces, arms crossed, pursed lips, feet itching to beat the Catholics out to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the local people-trough. You sigh.

Then you get studied up and prayed up all week and do it again. And again. And again.

Sometimes response comes in trickles, sometimes not at all. You start feeling quite hamsterian, and the preaching calendar is one giant wheel.

Pray, study, pray, preach.
Pray, study, pray, preach.
Pray, study, pray, preach.
Wash, rinse, repeat.

Somebody comes along at some point and suggests “This gospel stuff is nice” — this is a true story, by the way — “and you do it very well” — flattery will get you nowhere, or everywhere, depending on how my day is going — “but sometimes we need to hear other things.”

You want to say “Get behind me, Satan,” but you just smile and nod and inside your heart collapses like those outdated hotel-casinos they blow up in Las Vegas, with a great plume of dust that makes the sky look dirty. You feel old. It does feel like it’s getting old.

But you keep going. It’s giving you wrinkles, headaches, heartburn. You push on, press on, preach on.

Pray, study, pray, preach.
Gospel all day, everyday.

“If you think you need to hear other things,” you telepathically say to the valley of dry bones scattered across the pews, “it’s proof you need a double helping of the gospel.”

So you keep going. Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
What’s the definition of insanity again?

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God . . . 2 Corinthians 5:13

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9


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