Vol.XV No.V Pg.5
July 1978

The Need For Dedicated Men Continues

Robert F. Turner

(continued from preceding page)

True godly living, and hunger for souls, have made more good preachers than all the "degrees" in the land. A desire to save souls will drive a man to prepare himself academically, far more often than a degree will send him out to call sinners to repentance. This drive, "as to the Lord," makes the difference in genuine kingdom harvesters and timid hands who "can't do anything else," or extroverts, who preach to feed their egos.

Preaching is a full-time job. The man who would preach should prepare himself to — preach. This is not to say he should have no knowledge nor interest in other fields. On the contrary, it seems a man who is conversant with and experienced in a wide range of subjects is better equipped to reach the public. But he should keep his outside interests second and servant to his predominant aim to teach God's word. Singleness of purpose is the key to success in this as in all other endeavors. Preaching must be his obsession. Eat it, drink it, talk it, dream it. Pour on Bible study, church history, word studies, doctrinal issues etc. Contact people for first-hand information. Go to a synagogue and talk with a rabbi; sit for a rap session with college youths; argue Bible with an old timer. Work at preaching, and you will have little time to sell soap or insurance.

In genuine cases where one must "make tents" in order to preach, I am filled with admiration. And there are secular businessmen who use their weekends to assist needy churches by preaching, singing, etc., who should be commended for their unselfish use of time. In my book such men are to be preferred over drones who take full-time support for golf, social calls, and poorly prepared sermons. But "mutual edification" and weekend preachers can not fill the need for full-time; dedicated students and proclaimers of the word of God.

Preachers are expendable (Now I'm writing about the man, not his work.) If he is ready to "spend and be spent" he will enter each "job" knowing that the brethren who invited him to come, can invite him to leave. He should read I Cor. 9:14-27 in the quiet of an empty room — and then stare at the ceiling. The cause of the Lord does not exist to support him, but he exists to further that cause. Our pride will be hurt when we are replaced; stingy brethren will go to Hell for failing to support faithful laborers; but we must not confuse our "rights" with our selfish desires. Begin to think that you are indispensable, and you will BE the problem more often than you solve it.

And if you are "not in this work for the money" quit acting like it. Learn to live within your income — no matter if you can not "dress as well as some members." From your income set aside your contribution, a modest saving (in early years can be insurance) and then live on the balance.

Finally, preachers are people; not kings, pet poodles, or door mats. We must take correction, practice humility, while maintaining human dignity. We can not hope to succeed as preachers if we fail as men — made in God's image — subject to His divine will.