So, You Wanna Be A Preacher . . .
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
In the early Jerusalem Church, a dispute arose against the church among the Grecians - Jews who followed the Grecian culture, as the result of Alexander the Great’s conquest of the world - Jews, who were no longer kosher. These Hebrew Christians, who had adopted the Greek culture, felt their widows were being slighted when the Church was doling out its welfare program. And they complained to the apostles, who said, “Let us appoint seven men that are of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, to take care of this ministry of administering the Church’s welfare, in order that we might give ourselves continually to fasting and prayer.” So they chose seven men for the task of waiting tables, caring for the widows, etc. - Deacons. But, the Holy Spirit had other plans. And, their faithfulness “in a few things” qualified them for the greater ministry that God had for them.
No one starts at the top in ministry. We all begin with little things, simple tasks. As Jesus said, “You have been faithful in a few things, now I will make you ruler of many.” This is the process the Lord follows: faithfulness “in a few things.”
I hear a lot of, “I want to get into the ministry.” And I’ll say, “Go to the Sunday School department, that’s the best place to start. If you can learn to relate God’s truth to children, then you can relate it to anybody.” It’s important that we get started in some small task in order that we might develop our own abilities, as well as test to see if this is what God has actually called us to.
In Acts 6, we see that one of the seven Deacons was a guy named Stephen, who was “full of wisdom, full of the Holy Spirit, and of a good report.” But it wasn’t long before Stephen got into trouble, not with the Church, but with some leaders from the synagogue of the Libertines. They called him out to stand before their Counsel, because the Lord was working mightily through his life with “great wonders.” They didn’t like what he was saying, but were unable to deal with the Spirit of wisdom by which he spoke. So they hired men to bear false witness against Stephen, which brings us to the continuation of Acts 6 found in Acts 7.
In chapter 6, Stephen is accused of blaspheming God, of saying that the temple was going to be destroyed, and of blaspheming Moses. These false charges were partially true. A partial truth or a partial lie is extremely difficult to combat. An outright lie is no problem. But partial truth/partial lie is difficult to combat, and this is what Stephen faced. He, no doubt, had declared that Jesus was establishing a New Order. And that God was found not just in the Temple, but that God was at that time, and is now dealing with men everywhere in their hearts and lives. So these false charges were partially true.
“Then the priest said, ‘Are these things so?’ And he (Stephen) said, ‘Men, and brethren, and fathers, hearken . . .’ ” (Acts 7:1,2).
In his address, Stephen showed them that the history of their fathers isn’t as illustrious and glorious as they would like to believe. Their fathers, for envy, sold Joseph as a slave to Egypt, but God was with him, and delivered him out of all of his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, who made him the governor over Egypt and all of his house. This was Stephen’s first example of a mistake that their fathers made of a God-ordained leader. His second example is Moses.
In Egypt, when Moses was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers. He felt, “Surely they will know that God put me in this position in order that I might deliver them.” But instead they said, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” So he fled, and was a stranger in the land of Midian. After forty years, God then sent Moses, whom they had rejected, to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage.
Stephen used the mistakes that their fathers made of recognizing God’s ordained plans and rulers. There’s a pattern here existing in this nation, to which Stephen was exposing: Your fathers rejected Joseph; God made him a ruler. Your fathers rejected Moses; God made him a ruler. You have rejected Jesus Christ; God has made Him the Ruler. Then Stephen looked up and said, “I see heavens opened and I see the Son of Man standing there on the right hand of God.”
“And they cried out with a loud voice, they stopped their ears, and they ran upon him with one accord, and they threw him out of the city, and they stoned Stephen, and he called upon God, saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:57-60).
Stephen was called to the ministry. He was “faithful in a few things” - humbly serving the people of God. But we find in his martyrdom the true ministry the Lord had for this man.
So, do you still wanna be a preacher? Are you willing to be “faithful in a few things?” Do you feel called to the ministry? Are you willing to leave father, mother, wife, children, worldly possessions, “for the sake of the Gospel?” Are you willing to die for the sake of the Truth? These are the questions everyone must answer before they venture into the Eternal work of the Lord.
“Faithful is He who called you, who will also do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
So, You Wanna Be A Preacher . . .
Published: 23 June 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 23 June 2011 in FAITH Column of The County Journal.
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© 2012 dr. jay & miss diana
all rights reserved