Sermons Are Like Meals
While in Dallas, I taught through Romans in a Sunday school class for elderly saints over an eight-month period. After having been in Romans week-in, week-out for about six months, I started our morning study by saying, “Now let’s turn to chapter four, verse three.” I did not mention that we were still in Romans. I didn’t feel like I needed to, considering that we had been in the same book for six months. After I instructed the class to turn to “chapter four, verse three,” one keen brother asked, “What book?” Even though we had been in Romans for six months with no change, this dear saint needed a reminder regarding what book we were studying. After hearing his comment, I was discouraged. “I’ve poured my heart out teaching this class. Has he forgotten everything I’ve taught? Maybe he has,” I thought. Despite my discouragement, the Lord has used this comment to teach me an important lesson about the long-term value of sermons. Sermons are like meals.
What did you eat for supper a month ago? You probably can’t remember. You might not even be able to remember what you had for dinner last night! Nevertheless, did those meals nourish you? They did. Your failure to remember what you ate doesn’t negate the value that past meals had for you. Now there are meals that you do remember, meals so delicious that they’ve left a lasting impression. This is not the norm, however. We forget about the vast majority of what we eat.
This situation—past meals nourished us, even though we don’t remember what we ate—is similar to the value of past sermons. You’ve likely heard hundreds (maybe thousands) of sermons. Nevertheless, you can only recollect a small percentage of past sermons. That’s OK. Just like with past meals, God nourished your faith when you needed it, even though you don’t remember what you heard. The power of the Word of God is not contingent upon your ability to recall past sermons.
To conclude with a funny note. This comparison—sermons are like meals—is not original to me. Someone else came up with it. For the life of me, I cannot remember when I read it or who wrote the article I read. How ironic!