Monday, April 17, 2017
Has this ever happened to you in church?: You sensed, perhaps even felt convinced, that the preacher was singling you out in his message, trying to embarrass you before the congregation. Consider the following: There is now a major penalty in football, from middle school all the way up to the pros, referred to as “targeting.” It can result in a 15 yard infraction or even ejection and is generally committed by players who use the top of their helmets to strike an opponent, mostly the ball carrier. However, the targeting penalty can be enforced on any player who intentionally tries to hurt a defenseless opponent. Having said that, pastors and teachers can be guilty of “targeting” as well. In this case, it is the attempt of the minister to attack a specific person or persons while behind the pulpit or lectern.
It is not uncommon to hear certain folks claim they left their previous church because the pastor used his time behind the pulpit to publicly scold, slander, or embarrass them. There is also a possibility that the pastor did not willfully intend to demean anybody. Nevertheless, whether intentional or not, much damage can be inflicted when that happens. The pulpit was never intended for doing anything other than preach and teach the Word of God and any true minister of the gospel will never attack, slander, or embarrass any person or church. Just like a football player who targets his opponent can be penalized appropriately by the referee, so can a targeting minister be appropriately penalized by our “Great Referee” even to the point of being disqualified.
To be fair and objective, most of the time when God’s “genuine” pastors and teachers are accused of “targeting”, the accusation is groundless. In most of these cases, it was the Word of God that offended, not the preacher. Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” If we are honest, we will all confess that, at one time or another, we have all felt like the preacher was singling us out and that someone told him something about us. I know that is true because I’ve been falsely accused on many occasions of doing just that. Please bear this in mind: Game officials in all sports and levels have a higher authority that monitors their performance as well as their conduct. In other words, if they are biased or inept, eventually they will lose their job. It is no different with those who preach and teach the gospel. If they are not fulfilling their duties in a manner pleasing to God, He can depose and replace them if and when He sees fit. He needs no help to do it either. One more thing: Just like every child of God, all God’s servants will one day have to stand before the Lord to give an account of their conduct in their Christian life here on earth as well as their service to Him. Nevertheless, lets take comfort in the fact that, whatever issue may be troubling us, God is fully in control.
God’s word for today: (2 Timothy 2:24) “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.”