Vol.VI No.VI Pg.6
August 1969

Trying To Preach

Robert F. Turner

I enjoy preaching, I even like the hours of study, and am challenged by honorable, conflict with error. These things, and the results I hope God will work through me, help me to bear what I consider the hard part of preaching: visiting people, longing for a home, and the constantly nagging feeling that I should do better.

So, though our feelings are not identical, I can appreciate the following frank statements by Daniel Sommer, taken from his biography recently published by William Wallace. In this day of preacher quitting, When dedication to the Lords work is at a very low ebb, we very much need the selfless consecration manifested by this soldier of a past generation.


Many preachers can take up and lay aside the important work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ; but I cannot. There are men who delight to preach, and regard it a high honor; but I do not. I wish I could. In early life I enjoyed working on a farm and chopping cord-wood more than I ever have the work of preaching! The good accomplished by my labors is my only comfort. I am not a natural talker, and dont like to talk. On the contrary, there is a vein in my composition which disgusts me with a talkative man or woman.

Sixty-five years of labor that has been almost constant has not made much change. Accurate speech is so difficult for me that I am often disgusted with myself. I dare not be careless concerning my speech, and thus I need to be constantly on guard. My memory is naturally defective, and thus I cannot retain and quote Scripture with accuracy. Hence I wear out my Bible turning over the pages of the old Volume, in order to read before the public what it declares... Many who have heard me do not know how to credit such statements as being strictly true, yet I know they are true. Besides, I dislike to be in a crowd, and dislike most of the compliments on my preaching that I hear. I know my preaching is so defective when compared with that which Christ did, that I often feel ashamed there of. Hence I have never enjoyed preaching to any considerable degree. Certainly I have not enjoyed it as others have who seem generally satisfied with their efforts.

Many are by nature much better fitted for the work than I am. Some of them seem to take delight therein, and I bid them Godspeed. When I meet those who are better gifted than I air for addressing the public, I detect it readily, and rejoice in that they have advantage over myself. I envy no man, and am jealous of no man; but I recognize that I am individually responsible for the powers I have, and that God will hold me accountable for my use thereof. In early life when I contemplated preaching, I had serious doubts about my abilities; but decided that I could improve what had been given me, and that nothing short of a trial of five years could enable me to understand what I could or could not do. I now think it will take a trial of the remaining days of my life. I have never yet preached a sermon with which I was entirely satisfied. (He died trying at 90.)