You know you’re getting old when you remember something from elementary school but can’t remember where you parked your car at the mall yesterday. Last week’s Manna on brevity reminded me of the Weekly Reader, an educational classroom magazine designed for children. While it began (1928) before my time, circulation peaked during my elementary school years at more than five million. Issues were brief with short articles that were news-based on current events, plus timely articles from a children’s perspective. Each issue also included jokes that were so poor, they were funny. Sadly, Weekly Reader ceased to exist in 2012. My point? Brevity is beautiful! I’ve known a few preachers who could preach for 45-50 minutes and hold their audience. I’ve know a lot more who preach that long, and lose their audience by missing multiple stopping points. I had a pastor once who consistently preached 22 minutes and said more than many say in an hour. Last week I shared the motto, “Be brief beloved, be brief.” Another good motto, though a bit more direct is, Stand up! Speak up! Shut up! In Matthew 5-7, Jesus preached what we call “The Sermon on the Mount,” titled by some as Earth’s Greatest Sermon, Christianity 101, God’s Magna Charta, Christ’s Inaugural Address, The Manifesto of the Kingdom. Unless there is something else left out of Matthew’s version (surely he didn’t forget any of it), the sermon took approximately fourteen minutes to deliver. I rest my case, but I do miss Weekly Reader.
Dr. Dan Crawford, Senior Professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, is the WestCoast Baptist Association’s Spiritual Life & Leadership Mentor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DrDanRC and Facebook www.facebook.com/dan.crawford.