Are these popular ministerial personalities great in the sight of the Lord or only in the sight of man? Are they really known in heaven or only on the Earth? Are they God-anointed or self-appointed? Is it ministry they deliver or some subtle form of hype?
“Many who are great in the sight of the Lord are living in cottages and hovels, and are scarcely known, unless to a few neighbors equally obscure,” said William Jay.
Believers, especially Christian ministers, need a baptism of clear seeing and holy discerning. Our ministry marketing budget may be soaring high, but our perception can sometimes be so low. Our motives need refinement. The refiner’s fire is near the door. Will you open it? Can you see the narrow way to holiness? Or is all the smoke blocking your view?
Before me now I see the impression I saw months ago. There are two scenes. One is of a clear and sunny horizon lined with an endless row of people. The other is of a vast forest. Dense fog covers the forest, and out of the fog comes the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ, for the most part, is not found among the general populace. People have to really look to recognize Him.
Think about it. Our Savior was not born in a big metropolis, but in the small town of Bethlehem. And He grew up in the despised region of Galilee. He was not born in a palace where kings are, but in a lowly stable. The wise men had to really search and diligently follow the star to find Him. When Jesus entered into ministry, it is written that He had no place to lay His head (Luke [9:58]). He did not have a ministry headquarters. He died a criminal’s death on a cross, naked and nearly alone. His grave was a borrowed tomb. His throne was an invisible one hidden from the multitudes of those who were healed and delivered through His ministry. He was called meek and lowly; certainly not the description fitting for a king. But today, ministry is so different.
A church brings in a special speaker. He’s known all over, so the people flock to hear him. They come from everywhere, every night. At the meetings they jump, sing and shout. They hear the newest revelation proclaimed with jubilation. The people are saying of the special speaker:
He’s on TV,
I love his personality.
His ministry is so big,
His clothes I really dig.
He’s so wonderful!
And his wife looks so smart,
Her latest hit song
Is at the top of the chart.
Oh, I love to hear him speak,
And I hate to see him go.
Maybe he’ll stay another week,
Or speak again on his daily show.
The same church brings in a name unknown. The people stay away by the droves. A few faithful gather to hear the Word of God. They long for holiness and a vision of Jesus. With a broken heart, the little “no-name” preacher weeps for lost souls as he delivers a word from God.