Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guard What Has Been Entrusted To You

    So, I was scouring the web today (as I usually do most days) and was impacted by something that really stirred up my soul.  And when I say stirred, it was more of a nauseous way rather than a joyful elation.  I came across a story about a little boy who is preaching in his father's church.  Now, when I say preaching, I mean he is given the pulpit and allowed to share what is on his heart.  As I researched this further, I found out that this little boy is not the only one out there.  Apparently, there are little boys (and girls as I found out) across the country that are being given the privilege of the pulpit during Sunday morning services here in America.  To take this phenomenon even one step further, the NatGeo channel has started a show on them called Pint-sized Preachers!  Now, I want to say that I firmly believe that God can and does call those that are willing to do His work, no matter what the age (to give an example, my seven year old "evangelizes" to his schoolmates throughout the school year telling them about Jesus and how they can be saved) but I think there is a serious problem when we present our children to the responsibility of preaching and leading a congregation through the scriptures when they are not able to comprehend the magnitude of what it means to be saved and what the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ truly means in terms of a relationship with him!

    Case in point, one little boy is four.  He can not read the Bible, however his father and his grandfather are both preachers and have read the Bible to him and helped him understand the basic truths of God's Word.  But I have this one thing against them.  The father and son were interviewed on national television and asked if the boy preaches often?  The father's response was, "No.  He preaches when the spirit comes to him."  Now, here's the problem I see.  Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 said, "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith."  Guard what has been entrusted!  As a pastor, as a preacher, we have been given the gift and responsibility of presenting the Word of God in a manner that is consistent and true to the scriptures.  I have watched several times over many of the YouTube clips of these "baby" preachers, and very few are filled with the proper instruction of God's Word, let alone the reading of the Word.  Many, sad to say, are filled with animated performances.  But what they display in sensationalism, they lack in depth and knowledge of the Word.  2 Timothy 4:2-5 says, "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."  I fear these young boys being put up on a pedestal in much the same way as Tiger Moms push their young children to perform musically or academically at a high level without failure, or like the baseball dads that place their sons in one league after the next, travel team after travel team in hopes that their boy will one day be the next Evan Longoria or Ichiro Suzuki.  (I'm a Rays and Mariners fan.)  Is it that these dads think that the earlier their sons fill the pulpit, the greater chance they will have to be the next Billy Graham?  I think this may be that case as one of the videos i watched was actually labeled Baby TD Jakes.

    Let me leave you with this.  As Christians, we are called to test the men that are preaching God's Word.  That we should not take them at face value.  Present their teachings before the Word and if anything is out of line with the scriptures, then we are to challenge them on it.  A good and faithful servant of God will appreciate your care and concern and will not shy away from it.  As a pastor, I always ask those I have the privilege of ministering to not to take what I say as gospel, but to hold it to the Word of God and make sure it is consistent.  I pray that these men that are not allowing the very thing that has been entrusted to them - the careful and correct exposition of the Word - be overshadowed by the sensational nature of self-display.  In the end, if our purpose is not to worship God Almighty in wisdom and in truth, we have become just like anything else; a display of our failed state that will never match up to the awesome wonders of our God and Creator.  I pray for the boys (and girls), I pray for these men, and I pray for their congregations.

    1 Timothy 3:1-7  "Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.  Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap"

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