The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Reservoirs vs. Water Pipes

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 11, 2007

[This is mostly for preachers, but I think anyone can “get in on it”!]

What do you think of when you hear the term reservoir? Webster’s 1828 says, “A place where anything is kept in store, particularly a place where water is collected and kept for use when wanted, as to supply a fountain, canal, or city“.

Now think for a moment what the difference is between a reservoir and a water pipe…still thinking??? This may help: A water pipe spreads abroad water as it receives it. The pipe delivers the water as it draws from another source. If that source is cut off, it soon runs dry. BUT a reservoir waits until it’s filled to overflowing, and from the overflow it supplies to others. If it’s source is suddenly cut off, it can continue to supply water for long periods of time until it is replenished.

PREACHER: Would you rather be a reservoir or a water pipe? May we preachers be more like great reservoirs than mere water pipes!

If the supply we’re receiving from God’s Word is immediately being passed on to the people in our ministry [water pipe], then we’ll always be depleting ourselves of precious resources needed to carry on God’s work. For example: some pastors’ weekly studies meet only their weekly needs for the sermons, Bible classes, etc. At the end of the week, those men are empty again, and they must scramble to find fresh supplies for the coming week. Unfortunately, this may be the pattern of too many preachers.

What should be happening is that we preachers ought to be filling up our reservoirs as we personally spend time with God in much prayer and study God’s Word for our own personal growth, and then allow the abundance to overflow to the people…just think about it…A preacher should use his weekly study and preparation of sermons to help fill up the reservoir, but that ought not to be his only supply!

Have you ever preached, and then at the end of the message, you [and even the congregation] got the sense that you could have given more than they received? Did you ever walk away from the pulpit saying to yourself, “I could have also said thus and thusthat would have been good!”, that there would have been even more wonderful streams of Truth flowing from the reservoir??? My brother…that’s Reservior Power!

There’s a difference between a reservoir and a water pipe. There’s a difference between a preacher who just prepares a sermon and a preacher who prepares his heart. E. M. Bounds in his classic work on prayer stated, “We have emphasized sermon preparation until we have lost sight of the important thing to be prepared – the heart. A prepared heart is much better than a prepared sermon. A prepared heart will make a prepared sermon.

Are you a reservoir…or are you a water pipe?

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2 Responses to “Reservoirs vs. Water Pipes”

  1. Bro. Mike, that is good food for thought. I think most times I am a reservoir – though I can certainly tell in my own life those times I was just a water pipe, passing the truth on and being left empty again!

    I can certainly identify with what you said about the reservoir – there are many, many times I have preached when there was so much more that could have been said.

    The following two quotes were taken from Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Volume 1, pages 203-204, 206-207.

    If a man be truly called to the ministry, I will defy him to withhold himself from it. A man who has really within him the inspiration of the Holy Ghost calling him to preach, cannot help it, – he must preach. As fire within the bones, so will that influence be until it blazes forth. Friends may check him, foes criticise him, despisers sneer at him, the man is indomitable; he must preach if he has the call of Heaven. All earth might forsake him; but he would preach to the barren mountain-tops. If he has the call of Heaven, if he had no congregation, he would preach to the rippling waterfalls, and let the brooks hear his voice. He could not be silent. He would become a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” I no more believe it possible to stop ministers than to stop the stars of heaven. I think it no more possible to make a man cease from preaching, if he is really called, than to stay some mighty cataract, by seeking, in an infant’s cup, to catch the rushing torrent. The man has been moved of Heaven, who shall stop him? He has been touched of God, who shall impede him? With an eagle’s wing, he must fly; who shall chain him to the earth? With a seraph’s voice, he must speak; who shall seal his lips? And when a man does speak as the Spirit gives him utterance, he will feel a holy joy akin to that of Heaven; and when it is over, he wishes to be at his work again, he longs to be once more preaching. Is not the Lord’s Word like a fire within me? Must I not speak if God has placed it there?

    In my earlier days, I read, somewhere or other, in a volume of Lectures upon Homiletics, a statement which considerably alarmed me at the time; it was something to this effect: – “If any man shall find a difficulty in selecting a text, he had better at once go back to the grocer’s shop, or to the plough, for he evidently has not the capacity required for a minister.” Now, as such had been very frequently my cross and burden, I enquired within myself whether I should resort to some form of secular labour, and leave the ministry; but I have not done so, for I still have the conviction that, although condemned by the sweeping judgment of the lecturer, I follow a call to which God has manifestly set His seal. I was so much in trouble of conscience through the aforesaid severe remark, that I asked my grandfather, who had been in the ministry some fifty years, whether he was ever perplexed in choosing his theme. He told me frankly that this had always been his greatest trouble, compared with which, preaching in itself was no anxiety at all. I remember the venerable man’s remark, “The difficulty is not because there are not enough texts, but because there are so many, that I am in a strait betwixt them.” We are something like the lover of choice flowers, who finds himself surrounded by all the beauties of the garden, with permission to select but one. How long he lingers between the rose and the lily, and how great the difficulty to prefer one among ten thousand lovely blooms! To me, still, I must admit, my text-selection is a very great embarrassment, – embarras de richesse, as the French say, – an embarrassment of riches, very different from the bewilderment of poverty, – the anxiety of attending to the most pressing of so many truths, all clamouring for a hearing, so many duties all needing enforcing, and so many spiritual needs of the people all demanding supply. I confess that I frequently sit hour after hour praying and waiting for a subject, and that this is the main part of my study; much hard labour have I spent in manipulating topics, ruminating upon points of doctrine, making skeletons out of verses, and then burying every bone of them in the catacombs of oblivion, drifting on and on over leagues of broken water, till I see the red lights, and make sail direct to the desired haven. I believe that, almost any Saturday in my life, I prepare enough outlines of Sermons, if I felt at liberty to preach them, to last me for a month, but I no more dare to use them than an honest mariner would run to shore a cargo of contraband goods.

  2. Bro. Szekely said

    Great to hear from you, Bro. Jerry! Thank you for your comments and qoutes…Lord bless!

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