Most people thinking preaching is a Sunday deal and the pastor's gig. In reality, it is every believer's job and a daily task.
In his book, Note To Self, Joe Thorn writes: "To preach to yourself is to challenge yourself, push yourself, and point yourself to the truth. It is not so much uncovering new truth as much as it is reminding yourself of the truth you tend to forget."
Preaching to oneself is what the Psalmist did in Psalm 42. Discouraged and disappointed, he looked at himself in the mirror and said:
Believers who preach to themselves, like the psalmist, tell themselves to anchor their faith to God and his word, not their circumstances and feelings.
This daily preaching is absolutely essential -- and especially when it comes to the kingdom. Let me take you lakeside where Jesus is teaching the gathered crowds, wrapping his message in a string of parables:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:31-33 ESV
Jesus is giving us pictures of the expansive nature of his kingdom. Like a mustard seed, the kingdom has small beginnings but spectacular growth. Like leaven working its way through dough, the kingdom permeates and transforms the world.
This is not wishful thinking. This is the clear and compelling promise of Jesus.
Scholars Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen wrote a book entitled, The Drama of Scripture. In it they point out that Jesus uses parables to explain what the kingdom and kingdom living looks like. They write that the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast suggest that:
While I have the words of Jesus and the explanation of the scholars ringing in my ear, my eyes are surveying my every-increasing "ungodly" culture. My eyes are saying, "Are you seeing what I'm seeing? It doesn't look like the kingdom is advancing to me."
If I let my eyes dictate my faith, my faith would constantly wallow in the ditch of discouragement. So I don't do that. I take Jesus at his word, I take the advice of Joe Thorn, and do what the psalmist did. I preach to myself the Mustard Seed Message:
This is not a mind game. This is not wishful thinking. This is reality. The kingdom is already here . . . and not yet all that it will be. But it will be!
Anchor your heart to that truth today and live joyfully in light of it.