2 Corinthians 4:5-6 – “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” NASB
I am sure you have endured or encountered preaching, preachers, and believers whose message and ministry seemed more about them than God. I had an Evangelist come to the church I was leading, and he spent the entire time promoting himself and his needs. He took a text, and gave us a title and then never touched the text, never came near the subject of the title, but we learned about how many people were seeking him, how much it cost him to continue his ministry, and what his next project was and how much he needed to pay for it.
I had an Evangelist call me at 2 AM once to tell me that he wanted to come and conduct a ‘crusade.’ He wanted me to secure an auditorium in a neighboring city that would seat several thousand, hire a television crew to film the meeting, bring in professional musicians, and provide him with elaborate living quarters. He said, “I feel that your people need to hear what I have to say.” If you wonder what I said, you probably guessed it already.
I allowed this individual to speak for several minutes and then said, “No.” He was stunned and said, “Don’t you know who I am?” Yes, I knew who he was. He said, “Don’t you care about the needs of your people?” That set me off and as I bit my tongue and prayed for calmness I said, “Yes, I care about the needs of my people, but I don’t think you do.” He wanted to promote himself and told me that he had a $2,000 payment due on his bus as well as some other expenses that made his expectation of the ‘crusade’ an offering of well over $10,000. We were a church of about 300, not 3,000.
Sorry, for ranting and sounding as though I am down on Evangelist and other ministers, I am not. I have had some incredible people come and minister to the congregations I have led. They came with humility and a genuine desire to ‘hear God’ and ‘serve the people.’ Their heart was to “Preach Christ” and see Him become a reality in lives, setting them free from the clutches and devastation of sin. In each of those times, the LORD provided abundantly and most of the time far exceeded any hope they had financially. The more God moved in power, the more the people gave in finances. The more the speaker demonstrated humility and a genuine love for God and concern for them, the more they responded in prayer, presence, and giving.
When I entered the ministry, it was my desire to serve and to be a voice, not an echo. I did not want to be a copy of someone else, I wanted to be the unique vessel that God had called me to be and made me. I wanted His presence and power in my life so that I could see the works, greater works, and destruction of the devil’s work. I knew that if I could lift Jesus up and do so with humility, He would do the rest and touch lives transforming them.
I learned, often the hard way, that being a servant was the only way to achieve success. The more we served, the more the communities would respond and receive us. The more we focused on people and the less we focused on us, the more impactful our church became in the community.
The goal of a preacher, a Christian, and a leader must be to Preach Christ. They must view and present themselves as servants of Christ and serve people. If we allow the Love and Life of Christ to be manifest in us, we will find that people are much more open to the message. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up…” He was speaking of the Cross, but I believe it was a message far beyond the Cross and a challenge or call for us to “Lift Him Up” through service.
God bless you as you enjoy His presence, peace, and power on this beautiful day!