Sometimes I feel like one of the Prophets of old. Growing up as a kid I vividly remember hearing stories about Elijah, Elisha, and the others in Sunday School and if I am completely honest I have to say that I still get them all mixed up from time to time.
The role of The Prophet was simple: they are the mouthpieces of God. God told them what to say and they passed the message on to the people that God chose to hear the message. As a kid, that sounded really cool. It’s kinda like they have a direct link to God. Now that I’m older, and have experienced the life as a pastor for the past twenty plus years, I’ve come to realize that being the mouthpiece of God can really suck sometimes.
People like to do their own thing. Most people have a pretty good idea of what they like and what they don’t like. They have a good idea of how they like to spend their time and how they don’t. So basically, as a prophet your job is to go to people who have their life plans set and tell them that they’re going to have to change it… because “God says so”.
Everyone reacts differently to this type of messaging. Most people… not so well. Hence the phrase, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
As a pastor, I generally sit down to my computer to type up my sermon on Wednesday afternoon after spending a few days in study and prayer over what God wants me to say to His people. I stare at my blank screen knowing what I need to say, but struggling on how I’m going to say it. If I’m a little too bold… people stop listening and the message falls on deaf ears. If I’m a little too soft… people may lose the sense of importance and urgency and therefore, miss the message completely.
So I sit at my desk and think about what might have been going through the minds of the prophets the day before they left to deliver their message. Did they have notes or did they just wing it? Either way, here’s what I know about the prophets:
Prophets value authenticity above everything else.
They knew that it is important to have your public life and your private life… be the same life. Can’t be two-faced when you represent God!
Prophets value a reckless abandonment above everything else.
They understood that when God tells you to do something, there’s only one response – Obedience!
Prophets value the Word of God above everything else.
Ultimately… this is God’s word that we’re delivering! It’s kinda important that His message takes presidency.
So I’m sitting down to write a sermon and I’m praying one consistent prayer-
“God, help me to not mess up your message to your people! Give me the boldness to be obedient when it’s hard and the humility and gentles to deliver the message in love for you and your people.”