Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1951

Advice To Young Preachers - No. 3

J. D. Tant (Gospel Advocate, 1897)

Along the line of advice, it may be well to say in the beginning that preachers are born, not made. Perhaps there are men preaching today who should be in the penitentiary, and men in the penitentiary who should be preaching.

Paul shows (Rom. 12; I Cor. 12; Eph. 4) that there is one body, and all the different members are fitted together in that one body to make all complete in Christ. In all well organized and well regulated bodies, one member never gets in the way of another, neither are there ever too many members for one body, neither are there any provisions made for dead members to be carried about by that body. In all cases where a member becomes dead. It is only carried about by putting double work on some other member. Should some member become dissatisfied with its place and try to take the place of some other member of the body, nothing but confusion would follow. If you should sit down at the table, and the foot fly up on the table, take hold of your fork, and attempt to put food to your mouth, all could see the failure at once, and realize how ridiculous the performance would be to look upon. Again, if you sit down to write a letter, and the foot fly up, take up the pen and try to write where would you find a place for your hands? Should your head jump to the ground and try to walk, of what service would your feet be? These thoughts suggest the propriety of carefully considering the position God has ordained each should occupy in the body.

Every young preacher should ask himself, "What position has God ordained for me to occupy?" To that question you can almost be sure to find an answer by reading Romans 12. There you find all have different gifts, and you will see which one of these gifts you can best fill. After you prayerfully decide, and that decision is that you are to be a minister, remember that you have taken upon yourself to fill the most solemn and responsible position that God has ever ordained man to fill upon this earth; remember you have become the Lord's servant, and are expected to go forth among the children of men to do his will; remember, you are become a co-laborer with God to build lively stones into the spiritual house which was established by God, not by man; also remember that Paul warns you in thunderous tones to take heed how you build thereon, for every man's work shall be tried in the last day. This being true, every thought should be studied with caution, and every step taken with care. One wrong idea developed, one wrong step taken, may cause you to branch off the main line and be sidetracked by the wayside. A life of usefulness may be destroyed almost before the star of hope begins to shine.

These thoughts, given by Paul, well considered and well developed, will safely guide any man through life as a preacher, and enable him to do the work God has ordained for him to do: First, "Preach the word" (II Tim. 4:2); second, "Keep thyself pure," (I Tim. 5:22); third, "Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (II Tim. 2:3)

If these thoughts are well developed and strongly fortified from every standpoint, no young man need have any fear of failure as a preacher in the church of Christ.

But at the beginning of this work, many young men are met with a difficult problem: "How am I to prepare myself to preach the word?" To many this seems hard; to others no great difficulty seems apparent in this matter.

To all I must say there are no insurmountable difficulties for that man who is willing to labor and to wait. I often notice calls in the papers from so-called "noble young men" asking some church to help them by sending them money that they may go to school. They desire an education that they may make preachers of themselves! To these calls I give no heed, for not one young man in ten of those who make such calls will ever succeed. They are not willing to endure hardship as a good soldier, and only desire to be educated at the expense of someone else. If I were a stout, healthy young man, eighteen to twenty-five years old, and had been working for myself from two to five years, before God I would be ashamed to let people know I was so worthless as to have to call on someone to help me go to school. Almost any able-bodied young man can get work on the farm from $125.00 to $150.00 per year, and $25.00 to $40.00 of this money will clothe him decently. If he will spend his nights at home studying, instead of running around with the gay and frivolous, he can come to the end of the year with $75.00 or $100.00. With this much money he can go to school for six or eight months; then go to work again and save up that much more for another period. When he has shown that he is worthy of help, almost any community has some good man or woman who is willing to help him pull through. If there is nothing in him, help will do harm instead of good.