“Therefore He says, when He ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men…And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” Ephesians 4:8,11
Dallas Morning News columnist Marilyn Schwartz did a delightful article years ago about what it might be like to be the Queen of England. She humorously described a typical day in the Queen’s life, with all its privilege and pomp and the pride that would come naturally to someone living, well, living like a queen. The column ended with the chide children use with friends who get a little too big for their britches, “Who do you think you are, the Queen of England?” Queen Elizabeth isn’t proud; she’s simply facing facts when she looks in the mirror and says, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.”
With the Fall 2003 Granbury retreat right around the corner, I wanted to write something special to you kings and priests out there, especially you preachers of the gospel. Those of you who stand up among us and proclaim the good news. You often draw the enemy’s fire away from the rest of us.
What does it mean to be a preacher? You are caricatured and stereotyped by the world. You’re eaten alive by the sheep. Shopkeepers lump you with painters and plumbers when it comes to extending credit. Your mentors exhort you to remember the three G’s: “Don’t touch the gold, the girls, or the glory,” because too many before you have. You live with the failures of your predecessors, the price of public ministry. We, on the other hand, are excused because we hold our sins close to the vest.
You are a strange breed. Even the most peculiar preachers I’ve known – ones with beliefs that seemed wacko to me – when they stood in the pulpit and the anointing hit them, even they proved their gift. They preached!
You have the Word of the Living God shut up like fire inside you. You carry a heavenly directive, declaring Jesus to your generation. You lay down a heritage that will benefit the generations who follow you. You are ten-talent Christians, showcases for the Lord and the power of His might. No man can direct your path, only the Holy Spirit. In the end, He is the only one to whom you will give an account for how you used your gift. Remember that during your next board meeting.
Yet you also serve the Lord’s children in humility. You listen to our woes. You agonize with us through our trials. You patiently encourage us when we stumble over and over and over again. Through it all, you keep your mouth shut about our business. God would be pleased if we extended you the same kindness.
My goodness! What a wonder you are!
So, remember who you are the next time God tells you something glorious He’s called you to do, and the devil comes afterward and says, “Who do you think you are, God’s gift to the world?” You are one of the few people on the planet who can look in the mirror, smile and answer, “Well, yes. As a matter of fact, I am.”