Preacher Problems

Preacher Problems
L. William Schmidt

“The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 18:6).

“Moses, why don’t you practice what you preach,” came the sharp rebuke of Moses’ older sister Miriam. His brother Aaron silently assented to this strong rebuke. Perhaps more than once this touchy subject of Moses’ marriage to an Ethiopian had been the discussion for the inner family sessions, but this time the situation was different. Miriam’s ire had spilled over into an open confrontation in front of the congregation.

Her public challenge to Moses and her claim that “God has spoken to us as well as you” drew the remarkably rapid response of Jehovah God. Miriam was stricken with leprosy and God vindicated His leader Moses, with a highly visible endorsement of his unique position of one-on-one familiarity with God and ready access to God’s presence.

The biblical record leaves to the reader’s imagination the impact of encounter on Zipporah, the preacher’s wife, and on the preacher’s children. We should not belabor this point, but suffice it to say that there must have been some residual backlash in this whole affair on the preacher’s family. How many silent, suffering, saintly wives have watered their pillow with tears over a myriad different challenges hurled at their godly husband’s leadership?

The January Reader’s Digest carried an article entitled “Can We Trust the Media”? In this article, the point is made that “the name of the game” is to “get the man at the top,” regardless. Sadly, this worldly, rebellious attitude is all too frequently displayed by prayer-deficient churchgoers today.

Stress, that elusive and not easily detected debilitating disease, destroys and erodes a minister’s effectiveness. It is similar to the pangs of pressure felt by the Vietnam military leaders who led their troops against a seemingly faceless enemy lurking in the shadows. When one of these heroic leaders who went before the troops to inspire the men was shot in the back by one of his own who carried a hideous hatred for his leader, he became another casualty of the hazards of being a leader.

The Apostle Paul said, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” It is no accident that the rather mild rebellion recorded in Numbers 12 was soon followed by a full-blown, knock-down, drag-out confrontation between Korah’s crew and Moses. They railed, “You take too much on yourself Moses!” The meek, mild-mannered man of God fell on his face before God, who had called him to his position of leadership. Once and for all, God determined to set the record straight for all future generations to consider and contemplate. The Lord was not long in doing “a new thing” as the gaping mouth of Mother Earth ingested back into her dusty darkness the fractured fragments of these foolish challengers.

Korah’s accelerated return to that from which he was made resulted from the all too prevalent and tragically inspired spirit of the one who boasted, “I will exalt my throne above the throne of God.” From this original rebel, Satan, has issued forth a steady stream of satanic clones who, like Korah, have suffered the tragic consequences of their rebellious actions. No wonder Jude felt it necessary to write, “Woe unto them! For they have . . . perished in the gainsaying of Core.”

O man of God, take heart! He who has called you is not unrighteous that He would forget your labor of love. Remember the inspired pen of Isaiah in chapter 54, verse 17, as he with fiery-faced fortitude emblazoned on the pages of God’s Word, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” The writer of Hebrews declared, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what men shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

Brother Schmidt is pastor in Brookville, Indiana. He is also a member of the Foreign Missions Board.

The above article, “Preacher Problems” was written by L. William Schmidt. The article was excerpted from Forward magazine. April- June, 1988.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.