Compelled to Preach as a Motivation

Compelled to Preach as a Motivation

We are considering our motivation to preach and minister.  The last several posts dealt with negative motivations, ones that don’t serve God or us very well.  In this post we turn to some positive, Biblical motivations to continue in preaching and ministry effectively.  Compelled to preach as a motivation for preaching is good.

Paul’s Motivation

I am intrigued by what Paul said to the Corinthians in his first letter to them.  Remember that Paul had a rather difficult relationship with the Corinthian Church.  His letters are quite critical of the church, and he says many corrective things to them.  In chapter 9 he gets down to the issue of his motivation.  The context is that Paul says that he had a right to support from the Corinthians.  This is how he put it:

Paul’s Potential Motivation

11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Paul is saying that by rights the Corinthians should have paid him to preach the gospel, but, as he goes on to say, that was not his motivation.   This is what he says:

Paul Is Compelled

15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.

The word “compelled” is an interesting picture word.    It means something or someone is forcing you to do something or go somewhere.  One of my favorite stories from Scripture is the one where Jesus walks on water.  Before that miracle, though, there is a scene that goes like this:

Mark 6:45
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

Jesus “made” his disciples get into the boat.  Picture him urging them to get into the boat, and finally pushing and shoving them in.

That’s the picture of behind the word compelled.   Here is how the dictionary defines this word:

1: to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly: Hunger compelled him to eat. The general was compelled to surrender.
2: to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure: Public opinion compelled her to sign the bill.

 Compelled To Preach

Paul uses this term to describe his motivation to preach.  Compelled to preach as a motivation is what drove him to continue to proclaim the good news, even when it cost him physically.

Does God compel you to preach?  Is this your motivation?

Compelled by Calling

I’ve shared in other places, particularly in classes with Christian Leaders, something of my story, but here’s a shortened version.  In 2006 I was out of ministry for almost a full calendar year.  Toward the middle of that time I was wondering whether or not I wanted to go back into the grind of preaching, pastoring and leading.  It was in July of that year that a friend invited me to preach in his church.  I accepted the invitation with some trepidation.  Would people receive me?  Would they listen?  How would I perform?

I preached that evening, and while I was preaching I felt the voice of God in my spirit.  He said very clearly to me, “This is what I’ve called you to do.  Go and do it.”

That sense of calling stays with me yet today.  One of the reasons I continue to preach regularly, though I am past the age of retirement, is that I feel compelled.  It is my duty to God, certainly, but it is also a sense of calling to this task.

Compelled as a motivation for preaching is good.  It lines up with the Bible.

Do you feel compelled? Ask God to clarify this motive in your spirit.