Familiarity doesn’t just breed contempt; familiarity can breed passivity. And we can become so familiar with cherished biblical narratives that we are inoculated against their power. When this happens, we lose our spiritual fitness and begin to suffer from a condition we might call spiritual fatness. Spiritual fatness is a condition of the soul that occurs when our education exceeds our action. It’s when we are stuffed with knowledge that never gets exercised in obedience. It’s when we know all the right words to sing, to say, and to pray, but the words we know fail to produce any meaningful difference in everyday life.

[Preaching note: Along with Ruth 1, this is probably the sermon I’ve preached the most times. A major shoutout is due to Dr. Dennis Magary for opening up the book of Jonah for hungry seminarians back in the fall of 2005. Magary’s Hebrew Exegesis class remains at the top of a short list of the best classes I’ve ever taken. I think I learned more about preaching in that class than anywhere else (other than the experience of preaching itself).]
Preached at Grace Pasadena in Pasadena, CA on January 3, 2016
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay