Every chef can make the staples. They can roast chicken, grill up steak, mix a vinaigrette, saute vegetables and know what to do with salt and pepper. They understand the basics of knife skills and presentation. What makes a chef’s food worth waiting in line for is the unique flair that the chef develops over time. Locally people will wait in line for Tim Love’s Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage. Chefs know how to make sausage, but this particular expression of sausage is what captures the imagination of foodies.
Likewise, every Christian preacher can preach the staples: God loves you, You are forgiven in the work of Jesus Christ. Death is not the end. The Holy Spirit guides the Church to the ends of the earth. Every preacher understands the basics of voice control and best practices of toast-masters. What makes the preacher worth listening to is not the staples but the unique perspective that God gifted to that preacher as they build on the staples.
Isaiah had a vision where God touched his lips with a hot coal, purifying and giving him a message. Preachers are each given a unique point of view on the Gospel message and is called to take those hot lips of fire and preach the Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage equivalent of sermons.
Too often, however, we preachers stick with the basics. We grind out quality sausage each week knowing it is good and filling, but it lacks the Spirit God burned onto our lips. What made Jesus so compelling is his dedication to preach his unique flavor. It was that unique flavor that people asked “on what authority” does this man act/teach?
As fine of a restaurant Applebee’s is, there is rarely a clamoring for more Applebee’s. There can be a line out the door at peak times of the week, but I have never heard, “I wish there was an Applebee’s that would move in so that I could get some great food!” Christianity does not need more Applebee preaching, there is already enough. What changes and challenges people is the unique flavor of the Gospel God has given to preachers.
Preach rattlesnake-rabbit sausage.