“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” C.S. Lewis (HT: Per Caritatem)
This quote captures the struggle of the preacher giving an eternal message in changing times. There is so much reimagining Jesus going on in the hopes of having our culture come to Jesus. What you have then is a new Jesus and a culture that has changed since you had it in your sights. Being original about Jesus sells books. Simply telling the truth will make you so original. Mark Driscoll is a great inspiration to me in this regard. In chewing out a cheesy mega-pastor (whose initials are Joel Osteen) he gave this encouragement (as only Mark can): "You're a mail man. Just deliver the freakin' mail. Don't add to the message. Don't take away from the message. Just deliver the freakin' mail. You're a mail man for God's sake."
I often tell people with tongue firmly in cheek: "My job is easy. All I have to do is deliver the truth." It is so freeing and so binding at the same time. I have to ask myself: Did I understand the text? Did I explain the text well? Did I reflect God in all of his glory? Did I understand my culture, myself, and my people accurately? Did I plead with men or merely deliver a lecture? Did I preach as if my life and their life depended on it (1 Tim. 4.16).
Preachers, be original - - tell the truth.