The Homily - Illustrations
I like a good steak. For me, medium-well please. The steak should be juicy, full of flavor, savory, hot, and complimented with creamy mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, and something like a simple salad. This steak illustration illustrates what good preaching is like. The meat of the matter is God's Word. The Word is the main course of good preaching. Unfortunately, in our day and age many aren't interested in the meat of the Word. Rather, they are scrounging around for the illustration. The story replaces the Scriptures as the main thing. Experience is elevated to a higher plane than doctrine. When the speaker tells either a "tear-jerker" or a humorous one the sermon review is "a good one," and that almost instantaneously. When stuff like this goes on, it's like going to a steakhouse to by-pass the steak and enjoy the salad instead. Illustrations are important. They have their proper place in the sermon, but when the illustration becomes the main thing, the sermon loses its potency. Part of the problem is the misguided speaker. The other problem is the listener who lacks discernment listening for the story instead of listening to the Scriptures.