Now over a year into retirement (and disability) I have cleared over half of my books from my personal library. While I still have lots of books, I am finally looking only at those volumes I most cherish. Now I need to move to the project of clearing files filled with old sermons, worship bulletins and newsletters. I have a hard-copy of every sermon preached going back to 1975. Does anybody else do this? Save all their old sermons? Does this make me a “Sermon Hoarder”?
What hit me hard was a comment from my wife as we moved these files in order to lay new carpeting. “If something were to happen to you, what am I going to do with all your stuff?” This got me thinking about the fact that I rarely go into these files to read old sermons. Why keep all this stuff?
Aha! It’s taken some time but I am slowly realizing that my life isn’t about the boxes of all the things I save. What do we store in our hearts and minds? What’s truly important? Honestly, who really cares about all my old sermons and files!
Some random thoughts as I prepare to downsize:
Through the years, when I was still an active pastor, I used to find some value in going through old sermons in searching for an answer to the question I asked from time to time: What to preach? Is there a chance I will find a sermon worth repeating? Even so, I never repeated a sermon without first completely re-working it!
What about this? Old and musty hard copies of sermons are no longer sermons! A sermon is only a sermon on the day and hour proclaimed. A sermon only has life for as long as it remains in the hearts and minds of those who listen for God’s Word found within my words?
I am wondering what some of your thoughts might be in reflecting on years of preaching! And what do you do with all those old sermons?
A little secret: Every sermon I preached after about 2002 is on my computer hard-drive. I’m not going to toss my computer!