Over the years I have noticed a strange paradox with preachers. You can often tell if a man was not prepared for a lesson when they go too long. You would think unprepared speaker would run short but in practice it doesn't work that way. I've heard speakers that “run out of soap” mid lesson but then ramble and repeat to fill the time. Maybe the lesson just seems longer since his thoughts lose cohesion and he begins to veer off course. Preachers (this one included) often make the mistake of thinking that if they are speaking, it automatically must be worth listening to. But when a preacher hasn't put in proper study and considers his words carefully, it ends up just being babble.
It seems to me lots of preaching in our religious world today is just that, a bunch of babble. There are a lot of popular sayings and stories but not a lot of Bible and personal application. People will stand up and tell their personal “testimonies” but never tell you anything about Jesus and what he commands. If there is any Bible taught, it is few and far between and little more than a reference to and not a study of the Sacred Scriptures. Sermons have become more about the preacher building himself up and less about building up the audience. The goal is to entertain not convict. The presentation is more important than what is being said.
It makes me think about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:19;
“however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
In this context, Paul is chiding the church is Corinth because they would rather show off their spiritual gifts in worship than listen and learn. Their services had become a chaotic mess since it was all about impressing everyone with their gifts rather than growing in worship to the Lord. Here Paul says it would be better to have five well-spoken thought out words, than thousands of word spoken that will not edify anyone.
I think that principle is still true today. Better to speak less and make it meaningful than to stay up there all day and patter on about nothing. Good preaching will always be needed in the Lord’s church. Good preaching comes when the preacher desires to give the word of God to the people so they can grow. Don’t just fill the time, make what you say count!