Anybody who preaches on a weekly basis will tell you that they would much rather have the feeling that "they have something to say" over the feeling that "they have to say something." But what about those cases it is the latter? What is a pastor supposed to do when Sunday is coming and the pressure to come up with some words of wisdom is growing? My favorite times to teach our students are the weeks when I've studied and have felt like I have a lot to say, but the reality is that occasionally I have my selected topic or scripture for the week and my mind is blank.
Don't say anything new
There's nothing new. The message that we are preaching is one that has been preached for thousands of years. There are certainly new ways to communicate this message, but take comfort in the fact that the heart of what you have to communicate has been said by thousands of people every week. We preach Christ crucified and risen; you may not have any brilliant illustrations this week, but your message is pretty clear.
"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9
Let God to the Work.
Scripture is the inspired word of God; it will speak for itself. On those days when you feel like you just need something to say, open the Bible, read a section of scripture and help people understand what it means. I think we often forget the words of Hebrews when it describes the Bible as "living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword."
There is a doctrine in the church that can be comforting when you feel like you have nothing to say; it's the doctrine of the efficacy of scripture. Efficacy means effective; we believe that God's word is effective. Be comforted that we don't believe in the doctrine of the efficacy of the preacher; it's the Word that is powerful not the communicator. Scripture is alive and by the power of the Holy Spirit when God's Word is preached, God is at work. Heck, God even speaks through the mouth of an ass in Numbers, he certainly can speak through you when you have nothing to say.
Photo Credit: Amy Palko