At the end of the year, it is common for us to take a reflective look back at the year that has been as we prepare to embark on the one to come, so I am neither the first nor the last to offer such a retrospective. As to the value of such an endeavor, my year-in-review is likely to be among the least rather than the greatest, and I certainly hold no illusions that anything I write will be carried very far at all. However, I have spent the last several days re-reading my Sunday morning sermons from 2014, and after collating and analyzing some of the statistical details, I have come to a few conclusions.
First, let me offer a summary of the details. In the 12 months of 2014, I preached 46 Sunday morning sermons, derived from a variety of Scriptural texts including 1 Thessalonians & The Acts of the Apostles, Psalms 16, 32, and 59, Isaiah, Haggai & Hebrews, Colossians & 1 Chronicles, 1 John & 1 Corinthians, Matthew, Galatians, and 1 Peter, Daniel, and Philippians. Since I am not known for being a short-winded preacher, it should come as no surprise that the average length of my 2014 sermons was 45 minutes and 40 seconds, preached from a manuscript which averaged approximately 2,300 words. If you do the math, then it is not difficult to discover that I spent almost exactly 35 hours preaching on Sunday mornings in the past year, which, incidentally is still 18 hours and 11 minutes less than the world record for the longest speech marathon which was set by a Florida pastor in November of this year.
After I had gathered this information, I couldn’t help but compare the time I spent preaching with other things with which I might occupy myself on a Sunday morning. As an avid reader, I could have read numerous books during that time. For instance, I could have read and re-read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World nearly 10 times over the course of the past year, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a personal favorite of mine, more than 8 times through, or Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace once with a couple of hours to spare. If I chose to read the Bible instead, I could have started in Genesis and read through Matthew chapter 21 in the time it took me to deliver those sermons. If I were inclined to watch the Green Bay Packers, I could have seen the first 11 games of the season in their entirety and the first quarter of their November 23rd game against the Minnesota Vikings. With the right ingredients at hand, I could have baked 10 pecan pies – although I would have had to put in much more time than that at the gym to burn them off later!
While some of these comparisons make the time spent preaching seem quite insignificant, I can’t help but think about the all of the opportunities I have had over the past year to hear God speak to his people through his word and to play a small role in that process. Of course, along with each sermon there were countless opportunities to fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, to worship and praise the Redeemer of my soul, and to petition my loving, heavenly Father who is always leaning in to hear the prayers of his beloved children. So, is it worth it? Or would my Sunday mornings be better spent on other pursuits? You might be able to guess my answer, but you’ll have to come to EBC this Sunday to be sure.