An Overdue Thank You
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching, 2 Timothy 4:1-2. This well-known charge to Timothy can rightly be used as a universal mandate for preachers in every age. Since Enoch (Cf. Jude 1:14) and no doubt before, to the present day, the instruction to public proclaimers of God’s Truth has been the same. Preach, preach the Word, preach the Word at all times, preach with the motive to convict, rebuke, exhort and do it with endurance and doctrine. Through this mandate God has made known His Divine will in every generation. Even the Christ came to earth to serve as a Herald or public proclaimer of the Father’s Will (Cf. Luke 4:18, Wordstudy Greek and Hebrew Dictionary). Hence, preachers perform an important role in the development of faith in God. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:13-15.
Essential as it may be, the task of a preacher has never been easy, nor did God promise that it would be (Cf. Luke 13:34, Matthew 10:16, James 5:10). Ridicule, discouragement, financial hardships, heartache, depression, prosecution, and even death is to be expected when entering the pulpit. Does the reader perhaps know of any other profession where one can be so poorly treated and that for speaking Truth? However, in the true vein of Paul’s discourse about the synergy of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31 & Ephesians 4:15-16) the role preachers perform is bolstered by the righteousness and kindness of God’s servants. When we survey the history of preaching, we will readily see faithful men and women holding up the hands of God’s watchmen. When Jezebel hunted down the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah supplied them with protection and provision (1 Kings 18:3-4). What was his motivation? The scripture says he did so because he “feared the Lord greatly.”
When false and idolatrous priests and prophets sought to kill Jeremiah for speaking the truth (Jeremiah 26:11) the people rose to Jeremiah’s defense (Jeremiah 26:16). Their reasoning, (paraphrasing) this man is speaking on behalf of God as did others before him (Jeremiah 26:17-19). When Elijah was disheartened by the ungodliness of Israel (1 Kings 19:9-10) God encouraged him in the form of those who were still faithful (1 Kings 9:18). When the Jews plotted to kill Paul, faithful brethren helped him escape (Acts 9:23-25). When Paul required financial assistance, faithful brethren provided for his necessities (Philippians 4:15-18). Gaius provided for preachers who were traveling (3 John 1:3-5) and John called his actions an imitation of God. Onesiphorus was a great encouragement to Paul while he was a captive (2 Timothy 1:16-18). Time and space will not allow us to delve into all the other records of brethren helping, protecting, praying and providing for God’s men. Also, recorded biblical history is certainly not the extent of the kindness shown by God’s people to His watchmen.
For every disgruntle Jezebel and Diotrephes that causes preachers to reconsider the ministry, there are thousands of you who encourage us to stay in the pulpit. Your desire for righteousness and your faith in the cause of Christ are no doubt the catalysts for your kindness. You are our Ebed-Melech (Jeremiah 38:7-13) our Shunamite woman (2 Kings 4:8-10) and our Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25). Thank you for your gracious support of the work and for standing alongside us in the trenches as we together fight the good fight of Faith.