All I’m saying is this: Preachers have far to high an opinion of themselves. I might also say that sometimes people put far too much value on the opinion of the preacher which merely contributes to the preachers’ ego. But what are preachers? Why do we do what we do? Did we choose preaching or did preaching choose us? Are we to be considered the movers and shakers? Are we blessed by God because we have some worldly notion of success? Are we approved by God because we have a large audience, because we have nice office furniture, because people call our office all day long asking for our opinion? I heard T Haggard brag one night on television about how his opinion of things mattered to certain people in Washington, D.C. That was my first impression of T Haggard, and I couldn’t see his eyes. I don’t trust people whose eyes I cannot see. Ours is a derived authority. And I submit to you that the preacher is approved by God only so long as the preacher speaks forth the Gospel, the Scripture, the Word of God.
Look, here’s all I’m saying. Preachers are preachers. They are prophets, in the vein of forthtelling, who proclaim the Good News. We are not the politicians. We are not the shapers of culture. We are not the money-makers. We are not the artists. We are counter-culture, almost anti-culture. We are different, but not in a stand-offish kind of way. I think of John the Baptizer (& Elijah) who did anything but remain fashionable and chic and hip and cool. And when he did speak about (or to) politicians, he condemned their sin and called them back to righteousness. He certainly didn’t offer his opinion about whether or a not an idea would sit well with the voting base.
Why should preachers be any different? I think that most preachers have been effectively neutralized. So concerned are they with whether or not their opinion is courted, so concerned are they with whether or not they have a television audience, so concerned are they about their image, that they cannot proclaim the Word of the Lord in its entirety and with authority: They might alienate or offend someone. Then what would they do? Preachers are the the mocked, the ridiculed, the unfavored; those whose opinions are feared more than favored. I’ll end with this note from the apostle Paul:
8Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! 9For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
If that is how the apostles were treated, then how much more preachers in the ‘modern’ world? Why should we be any different?
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)
Come back later today for 90 Days With Jesus.