THE PREACHER IN YOUR LIFE
BY G. R. TRAVIS, MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT SUPERINTEDNENT
Some years ago while in prayer, a deep impression came to me. It seemed that the Lord was saying, “Be prepared. Satan is going to launch an all-out attack against the ministry. If he can cause the saints to lose respect and confidence in the ministry, he has removed his greatest obstacle in defeating the church.” I know Satan has always fought the ministry. However, in recent years, he has multiplied his efforts.
Unfortunately, some ministers have failed. The disgrace and dishonor of some televangelists has had broad effects. Although they are not a part of our fellowship, Satan has magnified their failures among us. He is attempting to cause the saints to question all ministers. It gives me great joy to say, while some have failed, that there is still purity in the pulpit. Some saints have failed, but there is still purity in the pews.
If the hearer has no respect or confidence in the minister, his message will not be received. If the message of God’s word is rejected, then that person will be lost. In I Corinthians 1:21, Paul declared, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Romans 10:13-17 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tiding of good things? But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Frequently we hear people in the world speak despairingly about world conditions. In their hopelessness and frustrations, elected officials become the victims of their vicious criticism. Critical, sarcastic, skeptical, irreverent statements are directed toward leaders and against the highest and most honored positions in the country. There is a general feeling of disrespect. This concerns me greatly. The Church will be attacked by the same spirit that prevails in the world. We must not succumb to that spirit. While we may disagree with certain individuals, we must always maintain respect for the positions they hold.
Then, there is a danger of our likes and dislikes influencing our attitudes toward others in a negative way. I am sharing with you a
writing that a minister shared with me:
My Minister – Right or Wrong?
I have a minister. At one time, he was a good minister. I pronounced him great. This I did because liked him.
His sermons were wonderful–as long as I liked him.
His speech was passing fair–as long as I liked him.
He was a hard worker–as long as I liked him.
In fact, I was strong for him–as long as I liked him.
But my minister offended me one day. Whether he knew it or not, I do not know. Since that day, my minister has ceased to be a good minister. He is just an ordinary one.
His sermons are not so wonderful–since he offended me. His speech is of no account–since he offended me. His faults are more
prominent–since he offended me. He’s not the man for the job–since he offended me. In fact, I’m trying to oust him–since he offended me.
Many times our estimate of a minister is determined in a large measure by personal likes or dislikes. Individual feelings, whether we realize it or not, color our judgment. Liking a minister, we like his work. Disliking a minister, he cannot please us. God help us to rise above the little petty things and see men and issues in their clear light.
If you look long enough, you can find some weakness in your preacher to criticize. All of us have weaknesses. We must remember though, that there is a world of difference between weakness and wickedness. If you will look, you will find good in him. What he needs is your prayer, love, understanding and support–not your criticism.
This article originally published in the Mississippi Torch was submitted by Superintendent M. D. Johnson.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE WISCONSIN DISTRICT NEWS, DECEMBER 2000, PAGE THIRTEEN.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.