The dictionary says that to preach is “to publicly proclaim or teach (a religious message or belief)” or to “earnestly advocate (a belief or course of action).” This earnest proclamation of religious teaching has been a central approach to spreading the Christian message ever since Jesus sent out his disciples in Luke 9:2-3. They were charged spreading the word of the kingdom of God, and they were to do it not seeking the luxury of life, but as a commitment to the task itself.
Paul later encourages the young Timothy to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4: 2-3).”
Why preach? Go into to the world without purse or second coat, to be ignored by those who you address. Put your own credibility, and maybe even life on the line, so that people will not put up with you, but seek after a more edifying and convenient message than your own. Why?
Because we are called to. Jesus said to go into all the world and make disciples. The message of that call in found in Romans 10, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (verse 13).” But Paul builds on this, and Jesus’ imperative “to go.” He writes, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? (vs. 14 -15b)”
Paul has developed this well. The world is trapped by sin, but if it turns to God, they will be saved. But they need the message sent. They need preachers. Paul goes so far as to say, that preaching is not just ordered, but is “compelled.” He writes, “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)”
We proclaim as an act of love. We preach in order for others to hear, and in hearing to respond. We are to always be prepared to share the message, “in season, and out of season.” We are to rebuke and correct (as sin is real), but also we are to build up and encourage. We may be ridiculed by some, and ignored by others. But we are to persist, woe unto us if we do not. And our rewards will be not only from above, but there will be those who do listen and respond, and to them our labours will be seen as lovely, “As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Romans 10:15b)”