USA – A sermon like a boat without a harpoon, September 1, 2020

A sailor just off a whaling expedition asked where he could hear good preaching. On his return from the church where he had been recommended to go, a friend said, “You do not seem to have liked the sermon.” “Not much,” replied the gruff, old weather-beaten men, “it was like a ship leaving for the whale fishing, everything ship-shape – anchors, cordage, sails all right – but there were no harpoons on board.”

Could not this be the charge laid at the most of our messages? They are ready for fair sailing, but we have forgotten to take our harpoons. We fish for compliments and not for men. God grant that we may carry our harpoons into the pulpit with us.

This reminds one of what a native in India said to Stanley Jones, the only man who ever refused to be a bishop in the Methodist Church. The native said that when one preached through an interpreter, should the interpreter leave off everything in the message that was not vital the average sermon would last only five minutes.

(Excerpts from “Answered prayers and soul-winning incidents – published in 1940)


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