In one of my classes I recently gave the assignment of writing a blog post telling a personal story. This post is from a Korean student, David Kim. It felt personally timely as tomorrow I give a “fresh” talk at Breakfast at Biblical (6:45 AM, 4/5/12) and a less “fresh” talk at St Mary’s college in Maryland (4:00 PM, 4/5/12).
Recently, I learned how to make sushi. Although I love sushi, I never thought I would ever make it myself. When I served as a full-time pastor, I could often afford to eat out. But after I became a full-time student, my family has seldom gone out to a restaurant. Instead, I occasionally prepare dishes for my family such as rib-eye steak, grilled garlic lobster, and others.
Last week, my wife and I were all dying to eat sushi. So I googled recipes for sushi and learned how to prepare it from some of the clips on YouTube. Then I bought pre-cut tuna and salmon and picked up frozen shrimp at the Korean market. In particular, I asked the fish butcher to cut a halibut fillet fresh from a living one. As a result, I was able to make 4 kinds of sushi: tuna, salmon, shrimp, and halibut. My family enjoyed the array of sushi and my wife especially liked the halibut sushi for its freshness.
I had some ingredients left over from my first attempt, so I put them in the refrigerator. Then I made sushi again 2 days later. Most of them were similar in taste the previous batch, however the halibut sushi was not quite as good. It had lost its freshness. It was then that I realized how crucial the freshness of ingredient is for the taste of food.
Likewise, it is significant for a preacher to prepare a sermon from fresh resources. A Preacher is a spiritual chef. He or she cooks spiritual food for their audience every worship service. Some preachers may always show off their culinary skills but others may not. It is important for preachers to have good cooking skills, tools, and seasonings in order to serve delicious spiritual dishes. But fresh ingredients are the most decisive key to spiritual cordon bleu cuisine.
I have preached for 15 years and have always tried to prepare new sermons. Yet I was often tempted to use old sermons when I did not have enough time to get ready. Sometimes, I could not resist those temptations and ended up re-using past sermons. Understandably, old food could not provide adequate spiritual nutriment and vitality to my audience. For this reason, I make efforts to prepare every sermon as new all the time even if I need to preach the same passage that I delivered before.
How do you cook your spiritual dishes for your audience?