[Church at Bemerton]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 37: Morning


Judge not the preacher; for he is thy Judge:

If thou mislike him, thou conceiv'st him not.

God calleth preaching folly. Do not grudge

To pick out treasures from an earthen pot.

   The worst speak something good: if all want sense,

   God takes a text, and preacheth patience.

     Do not judge the preacher, for he is your Judge. If you do not like him, you do not understand him. "It pleaseth God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe." [I Cor. 1:21] Do not grudge to pick up treasures from an earthen pot. The worst [preachers] speak something good. If all want sense, God takes a text, and preaches patience.

     A diamond in the mud is still a gem. A priceless antique in a garbage bag is worth saving. Would you rather have a beautifully rapped, empty package. If a dirty, old, slow truck brings you someone you love, do not complain about the transportation. The media is not the message. Look for the jewel. The earthen pot, the mud, the garbage bag, the package and the truck do not matter. See what is important. Accept it. God uses everything for His purpose. Your response to the preacher judges you rather than his message. The preacher is your Judge, the litmus test by which you are judged.

     If you dislike him, you will not listen or understand God's message. Even a fool may speak knowledge to the wise. You refuse God's knowledge out of prejudice. This, too, is a judgment. Even the worst preacher, as a person, student and speaker, has a lesson to teach. Whatever the text for the day that the preacher may mar, God chooses his own text and preaches patience so that the sermon saves those who believe regardless of the preacher.

For commentary, sermons and several translations, see I Corinthians 1:18, 21 at the World Wide Study Bible.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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