It was lunchtime. I was traveling with a friend who was asked to speak of his work to a group of seminary students. We arrived early so we went to lunch. Our table was filled with seminary students and professors. The topic… who would you drive to see preach?
Each person took their turn talking about their favorite evangelist or preacher. Every person listed brought in the crowds — thousands of people came just to hear a message from this man of God. The warm memories of a day long gone were savored as these men were remembered. The conversation turned, though. We began to talk about the character of the giants that we had just remembered. One said, “I remember him; he was bull headed and arrogant.” Of a different preacher, “It was so sad how that affair destroyed his ministry.”
Have we made the wrong men heroes? Have we built up immoral men with the gift of gab? Have we missed the true men of God, humble men who serve their congregations daily, living lives above reproach? I sit and eat lunch every Monday with a group of men, most with congregations of 50-80, who serve God, exude humility, and love their people. Why are men like this not honored? Well they are, for their glory is not in the applause of their fellow man but instead in the honor God alone can give.
Genuine pastors lead genuine churches. Show men who are nothing but fog in their pulpits produce nothing but vapor in the pews. As preachers we are not called to be eloquent, not called to be show men, not even called to be interesting. We are called to be truthful, genuine, and humble.
There will always be celebrity preachers, some who are genuine and some that are not. What we, pastors and churches, must realize is that true heroes of the faith cannot and should not be measured by what a number counting celebrity driven culture says. Instead they should be measured by God’s standards… those of genuineness and humility.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.