“I’m Glad You’re Here!”
Whenever I preach, wherever I preach, I have developed a habit before I begin a lesson. Some preachers begin by saying, “Good morning” or just dive right into the sermon text. I always say, “I’m glad you’re here.” I say it for many reasons. For one, I am glad not to be alone and that there is someone present to hear the lesson which I’ve prepared. Another is that it encourages me to see other Christians dedicated to worshiping our Lord and making the effort to be present. I realize that work schedules, raising children, and numberless distractions can often torpedo those efforts. I genuinely appreciate their commitment to the church and to edifying one another. My wife, who is my most valued critic and confidant, has suggested that I break the habit. She says sometimes it comes off as insincere when I say it as I am organizing my notes or opening my Bible to the passage on which I am speaking. I may appear distracted or it might simply sound scripted. Listeners may think, “Well, that’s just what Rob always says before he begins.” I understand that viewpoint, and her suggestion is not without merit. There may indeed be times when my heart is not fully into that greeting. It is possible that I may say it out of habit, occasionally, rather than from a place of sincere joy.
But here’s the thing:
I am too afraid NOT to say it. If I did not say those words, I would feel I had changed just for the sake of change and I would feel my preaching effort was incomplete somehow. The real reason I say “I’m glad you’re here” is because every Sunday I wonder if someone needs to hear that message . Maybe someone is a visitor and wonders if this is a good fit for them as a church family. Perhaps someone has had a trying week and needs a bit of a shot in the arm. It might even be that someone has been too hard on themselves and needs to reminded of their importance and value to God and His church. It would be easy to find a million reasons to stay away from the assembly. Because that one person didn’t, because they chose to get up, get dressed, and drive in to be with us in God’s presence, I am glad for their effort. I am proud of them for taking that step. If there is one who enters the building weighed down by their own unspoken sin, know that I am glad you chose to be here. I am proud of you for facing that discomfort in the hope that God would help you bear that load. I am glad you are here and not vainly struggling with that burden all alone. I am glad WE are here to help you shoulder that load. So if you hear me say that familiar phrase and roll your eyes a bit, I understand. But I want you to know, really know deep in your bones, that I am truly glad you are here when you could be so many other places. Your presence alone encourages me. Thank you.