Another Sunday rolls around and the crowd eagerly awaits the onset of the main event. They have given mediocre attention to all the other acts in this show, to which they are regular attendees. Then he arrives, the Showman. He dazzles the audience with his oratory prowess and captivates them with his literary abilities. They say his performance is like a well-tuned instrument played at the hand of a skilled artist. He is a showman of note and for one hour a week, he is the main attraction in town.
I am sure by now you have guessed that these statements are written facetiously and allegorically. This is what most preachers feel like when they stand in the pulpit week in and week out preaching the powerful Gospel of Christ. They are treated like a showman, a man who has been “hired” to entertain the brethren and wow them with his preaching abilities. When all is said and done he gets the proverbial pat on the back, well-done preacher, another good one. Some are not so kind towards his “performance” and they respond with deafening silence or snide remarks. I would like to say that this problem is a new one, but I would be mistaken in that assessment. Solomon and Paul respectively said there is nothing new under the sun and there is no temptation but that which is common to man (Cf. Ecclesiastes 1:9 & 1 Corinthians 10:13).
In the writings of the prophet Ezekiel the Lord made the following remarks about the people’s response to the preachers of their time: “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’ So, they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed, you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them, Ezekiel 33:30-32.
More than two thousand years removed, God’s people are still doing the same things, elevating the man and ignoring the message. At some point, the idea of the preacher as a showman must be laid to rest and the view of him as God’s man must be resurrected. At some point, the “show” must cease, and worship must commence. At some point, the message should become more important than the messenger and at some point, we need to take the message to heart and let it change us one verse at a time. If this does not happen we will be condemned by the same word to which we did not listen (John 12:48). When a preacher stands in the pulpit proclaiming God’s infallible truth he desires but one thing: for God’s people to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22). Your preacher is not a showman, magician or a comedian. He is a herald of the King (2 Timothy 4:2) a proclaimer of the Good News (Romans 1:15-16) and he is trying his level best to prepare you for eternity (2 Peter 1:12).