rules for a preacher circa 1888, rule 1

Sitting on my bookshelf is an 1888, Methodist Episcopal Discipline.  I find these sorts of things absolutely fascinating.  Every Sunday morning I go through it a little bit and this week I found the subject of my next 11 blog posts.  Within the Discipline are 11 rules for preachers.  They are just as applicable today as they were in 1888 (well, some more than others.)  Enjoy!

Rule 1. Be diligent.  Never be unemployed.  Never be triflingly employed.  Never trifle away time; neither spend any more time at one place than is strictly necessary.   

This first time I read this I had to look up the word “trifle,” it is simply has not been in my vocabulary.  It means to waste time or to spend time on things of little importance.  This rule gives a clear picture of how important the task of preaching is and just how high the calling is.  When it is your job & calling to tell the story of redemption, then what could be more important?

This makes me wonder, how many times have I been looking for a sermon illustration on You Tube only to go down the wormhole of random talking animal videos…  This rule reminds me of the seriousness of the task of teaching God’s word.  There are many more rules that will remind the preacher of the prominence of their position.  I can just imagine the older denominational leader talking to the new preacher asking them, “do you realize what you’re called to?”  “Do you even get the importance of what God is calling you to do?”

If you are a young preacher, how do you spend your time?  What are you doing that if you weren’t doing it, you could be far more effective?

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