When preachers have a message to deliver, it involves more of a load on the preacher than church goers consider. Prophet Malachi referred to as “The burden of the Word of the Lord.”
I thank God for men called of God who preach the truth of God’s Word. In those moments of proclamation, they have the awesome task and “burden” to speak to the people on behalf of Almighty God. It is a dynamic and holy exchange that goes on during the delivery of a message from the Book. The hope of the saints depends on it. The eternity of the unsaved is affected by it. The morality of a people is guided by it. The demonstration of the Spirit and of power is manifested in it. Preaching is that critical experience whereby our faith is strengthened to stand, not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Men who rightly divide the Word of God do not promote what they perceive as the truth, but rather what God says is the truth. They courageously stand and say, “Thus saith the Lord.” (Note that phrase often cited by the Old Testament prophets). They do not attempt to give rhyme and reason to the Scripture, but they rather emphasize faith that accepts as infallible the truth of God, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word.” People may resist God’s truth, but the preacher insists on God’s truth.
Men called to preach possess a passion. They possess a passion for God. They have a distinct motivation for love for Jesus Christ. They burn inwardly with the drive to declare God’s truth.
The Prophet Jeremiah, during a time of discouragement, decided to quit preaching. He said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But, then, he had a change of mind and heart, saying, “His Word was in my heart as a burning fire in my bones.” Jeremiah went on to say that he got weary from trying to hold the Word of God back, and could not hold it in. He was soon back on the circuit.
That is the way it is with a man called to preach. He has to preach because God has instilled the Word in his heart to preach. A man called to preach who does not preach dies a slow, agonizing death during life. God has chosen preaching as the means whereby His message to this spiritually desperate world is manifested.
Church, if you have a man who preaches the fundamental truths of God, respect the man, not for who he is, but for what he does. If he proclaims “Thus saith the Lord” as it is proven in Jesus Christ, then embrace and incorporate the Word in your lives, and treat it as your most valued possession. This is supported by Jesus Christ, who pointed out, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
You see, the man called to preach is a man put on the spot. According to Scripture, what the preacher does is referred to as “the foolishness of preaching.” By standing to declare Scriptural tenets, such a man becomes engaged in God’s ordained method of confronting the mystery of human free will. To the world, preaching appears as foolishness, but Scripture says that the foolishness of God is wiser than men. To the world, preaching appears as a weak approach by God, but the weakness of God, by the same standard, is stronger than men.
It prevails upon us, therefore, to consider the strain and load that weighs on the preacher. The man is situated between the hostility and rebelliousness of human nature, and the demands of God’s holy expectations. The preacher, however, whose heart burns for God, is literally oblivious to the former, and dedicated to the later.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.