Preach the sermon you have to the crowd that is there. I know you. Every Sunday you visit with and look over the audience as it assembles. They are there to worship the God of Heaven and your part in that is to deliver a lesson that in some form draws them closer to Him. And as you look over that audience - You want more - You want better - You notice people not there who you believe need the lesson you prepared - You miss people who have been gone a long time or a little - Your heart hurts over people who are not there because they have been hurt or disappointed or had some conflict that has caused them to go somewhere or nowhere else - You dream of the church growing more in a numerical sense (you better) - You imagine an huge audience - You may even feel envy thinking, “If I preached at ____ or if I could preach to Osteen's audience” - You think of what you thought could be when you first decided to preach, or in your early days where you are now. Now, I don’t mean in a greedy manner. Your desire is good. You don’t want a big crowd so you look good. You want more so more will be influenced for God and so the church can do and be more where it is. And, frankly, you would like more people to hear the lesson you’ve sweated and labored and prayed and prepared for that day. And you feel a bit of a sting and maybe a little let down. Brother, wake up! Preach your heart out to the audience you have - to the crowd assembled. Don’t hold back or be deflated - do your best for the Lord and His People who are there. Preach to your audience, not to the audience you wish you had. Thank God for who is there and stop leaking steam and energy over who is not.
Remember Paul often preached to an audience of perhaps only the lone guard he would have been chained to - but as he preached he wrote and those books have impacted millions. We may think we know but we don’t know what God is planning to do with your words from His Word but we do know it will not return void and we do know that our “calling” is to faith and faithfulness not fame and fortune.
Preach your best lesson to the people who came to “hear a word from the Lord.” Preach, brother, preach. And may God be with you and use you for His Purposes.