Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh, that with an iron pen and lead
they were graven in the rock for ever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives . . .
-- Job 19:23-25a
An idle thought seized me today, to divert me from the serious and proper task of typing up my sermon notes: How many words have I written to be preached?
Not, how many words have I preached, for that would be far more than what I've written. After all, I like to re-preach my greatest hits. And then, there are all those camp chapel homilies, the children's lessons, the devotions, all those times when somebody asked me "to just say a few words." I don't have anything down on paper or disk for those things. But, supposing someone, someday, wanted to publish The Complete Works of Arthur Collins, how many words would go into the "Collected Sermons" section?
I did some rough calculations, and I figure I have something over three million words in my sermon files. That's a lot of words from this old, tired wordsmith. But even all those words, plus all the words I've spoken aloud in preaching and teaching the faith once delivered to the saints, all the words I've sung or prayed in public, all the words in all the newsletter articles and columns and blogposts and all the rest that I have written -- have not exhausted the Word.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God. Of him, John said that if everything he did had been written down, the world could not contain the books that would be written. And more: all the books ever written cannot fully explain his nature or exhaust his grace or use up all his power. All of us preachers are trying to fill the ocean a teaspoonful at a time when we offer Christ to our hearers. Yet every drop of him is as pure and full of himself as the whole of him, and all those who stop to drink have their thirst quenched. God be praised.
And now, I've really, really got to get my sermon finished.