Enjoying the Journey
No two people are the same, and no two preachers are either. The gifts and callings of God are unique in the life of every one of His servants. It is a beautiful revelation of the wisdom of God and a reminder that He can use others who are not exactly like us.
Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege to preach in a number of preacher’s fellowships. As I spend time with ministers of all ages and personalities I am reminded that the common denominator is not us but the Christ in us.
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?…Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or thing to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:5, 21-23).
Man’s emphasis is on personalities. God’s emphasis is on the preeminence of Christ.
I asked my wife recently who she thought was the most powerful preacher in the New Testament. She replied, “Probably either John the Baptist or Paul.” Interestingly enough the one thing they both had in common was that their ministries were about one thing – pointing people to Jesus.
It is conspicuous that the Scriptures tells us very little about the speaking ability or style of any of the men most greatly used of our Lord. We read of Apollos’ eloquence in Acts 18 only to realize that it was not sufficient! The Word is more important than the voice.
Think of the preachers in the early church. Peter, James, and John made up the inner circle in the ministry of our Lord. Three very different men and very different ministries!
- Peter preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 souls came to Christ. Yet as the Acts era progressed and others came on the scene this dominant personality seems to fade into the background.
- James became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. He is mentioned rarely in the New Testament record.
- John was exiled to the island of Patmos where he saw and recorded the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Their callings were varied but their purpose was the same: fulfill the work Christ gave them to do! I don’t think any one of them would have wanted to trade places with the other.
They were content in Christ’s choice. Am I? Are you?
The Apostle Paul became the prominent preacher among the Gentiles. We never read of him preaching and seeing as many saved as Peter did at one time. In fact we get the idea that he was not nearly the public speaker that Peter may have been (2 Corinthians 10:10). Yet a large portion of our New Testament was written by this man. You never know when your greatest contribution will be made or how God will use you to make the greatest difference for eternity.
Both preachers and hearers are measuring far too often by the wrong standard. The measurement of the preacher is not in his crowds, his charisma, or his communication skills. Rather it is in his faithfulness to Scripture, his fulness of the Spirit, and his obedience to the call of God on his life.
Whoever we are, wherever we are, whatever God has chosen for us to do, the only thing that matters is that Christ is seen and heard. Yes, preachers are all different! But Christ is always the same!