Matthew 4:19 (ESV) "And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' "
Jesus called those whose occupation were fisherman to fish a different pond. They were to "net" sinners instead of fish. Rather than the catch that which would perish, but fishing for men saves those "caught". Those "called" went from willing workers to willing preachers. It wasn't for money that they became fishers of men, but for obedience to and zeal for the Lord.
Some preachers are merely working a vocation. They get paid, and some quite well, and rather than having a burden for souls, they have a burden for income. You can tell a preacher who's not called. Their enthusiasm for the Lord is just not there. Few sermons are preached which would convict sinners to seek redemption. Another gospel is preached; a social gospel:
Galatians 1:6 ( ESV) "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ."
The gospel is not concerned with "sharing the wealth", the environment, tolerance, social justice nor the pursuit of leizure and pleasure, but with saving souls! Few churches are concerned with that now! If a church fails to preach personal salvation and obedience to God, that church is preaching another gospel! If preachers at those churches are doing that, their work is futile. They're spreading poison on green pastures, so to speak!
Some take delight in teaching other things. Some have adapted psychology into the church. People are seeking something more in their lives and if sound doctrine isn't there, they'll take whatever they can get. Hence, many churchgoers never hear of salvation, but membership. It's like an exclusive club! If you go to church, attend regularly, sing, teach, act and greet; then you're accepted into that club. When I was young and attended a liberal church. I was told that I was "saved" because I received and "A" in catechism class. Even as a child I realized the error in that type of "salvation". Such preaching is an effort in futility! Those people were perishing in spite of membership. If salvation was taught according to scripture these "social clubs" would be part of the "Christian fanatics" as true Christians are called!
Mere churchgoers and those born-again in Christ see things differently:
You can see the dichotomy in this verse! To one the word is "folly"(foolishness) to another it's "God's power". Teaching to please fools is foolishness. Preaching salvation is power!
If a preacher preaches God's power, it leads to repentance:
Mark 1:15 (ESV) "And saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
How are sinners to know God's word, when preachers fail to preach! Why is that?
1) They are not called of God. Their preaching is futile.
2) They are called by God, but they fear failure. If truth is preached, the congregation may repent and rejoice, or if the congregation is calloused and hard-hearted they will reject truth. When truth is rejected attendance drops and the preacher is perceived a failure. To avoid failing, many preachers smooth talk. They fail to bring a message which would convict a sinner to repent.
3) A preacher may be called, but get caught up in his own leadership skills and self-adoration.
4) Others pervert the gospel because they just don't believe what they should be preaching.
5) Some even distort truth because they are evil. They teach pleasure and tolerance rather than joy and obedience. Many liberal churches are this extreme!
Should preachers quit preaching. Since sinners want their ears tickled and little more, should preachers just give it up?
Mark 6:11 "And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” and Luke 10:11b adds "Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near' "
As we approach the end of days, sinners are getting a last chance. Just as the Jews, most believe in one God, but have other idols themselves. The God of pleasure is the "other Gods" of the First Commandment! (Or is it now the First Suggestion?) (sic).
I have seen many Christians get angry with the preacher when the preacher merely preaches what the Bible says; Truth! Others don't mind if the preacher rebukes someone else, just don't get on their turf. Given the obstinance of mankind, is preaching futile? It appears that the obedient continue to obey and the stiff-necked disobey. I have seen preachers have a sermon on taking the Lord's name in vain and before I'm out the church door, I hear that precious name taken in vain repeatedly!
Jeremish preached a good sermon! He warned people that destruction was at hand. They failed to listen:
Jeremiah 5:21 (ESV) “ Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not."
Like Jeremiah, contemporary preachers warn; people have eyes and ears, but they don't see nor hear. They have a built-in filtering system. Rebuke is filtered by pride and selfishness. Sinners hear, but don't apply. That's why angels sing in heaven when even one sinner enters that narrow gate!
Should preachers, then, just quit preaching?
1 Timothy 4:13 ( ESV) "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching."
No way are preachers to give up! It's discouraging for them, but that's their call. They know the odds, but they are devoted to God!
When the angels sing when one Christian is saved, it would never happened unless that sinner had heard:
Romans 10:14 ( ESV) "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? "
Yes, it's worth it! Preaching leads to hearing and hearing to believing and believing to salvation. Encourage the preacher. If the preacher is on fire for the Lord, the congregation will be also!