The Cow Went Dry!

One hot summer morning the church windows were open, and as the preacher delivered his message, a gust of wind blew his notes right off the podium and out the window. A cow was grazing nearby and ate the notes. Would you believe, the cow went DRY!

Stories and trivial anecdotes about dry sermons and pathetic preaching abound. In a folk song by Malvina Reynolds, she tells of her experience with a certain restaurant. It was a beautiful spot; the decor was well-appointed; the flatware was polished to perfection; there were real flowers on all the tables; the background music was tasteful; the lighting was appropriate; but there was one thing wrong–the food was terrible! Some preaching is like that. The church architecture is splendid; the organ is rich and full; the choir sings in perfect harmony; the ushers are polished; the minister is handsome and distinguished-looking; but there is one thing wrong–the sermon is terrible!

Good preaching is important and needs to be central. Titus 1:3 indicates that God “…manifests his word through preaching.” In attempting to explain to the church at Pome just how people come to faith in Christ, Paul wrote: “Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to” (Romans 10:17/”The Message”).

There it is. We come to faith in Christ because of what we hear about Him. The preaching of the Word is a divine event by which God makes Himself known in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, according to the witness of the Bible.

But not only is the message important, but also the fervency of the messenger. Paul admonished Timothy (and every preacher!) to “…proclaim the message with intensity” (II Timothy 4:2a/”The Message”). That doesn’t mean that a sermon is to be a theatrical production, but it does mean that it is to be earnestly delivered in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. God honors that type of preaching! Unfortunately many people through the years have simply “died on the vine” because of dry sermons and pathetic preaching. All ministers of the gospel would do well, as the Apostle instructs, to “…proclaim the message with intensity.”

— Paul W. Brubaker
March/April 1994