Music fascinates me, as do musical instruments. When I hear a symphony or an orchestra, I get goose bumps, sometimes even tears of joy. I remember a few years back, at a middle school concert. I was surprised at how good they sounded. To me, they sounded about as good as professionals. Then, this thought hit me: We did not get to hear the varsity band play immediately after. If I had heard them play, my first impression of the middle school group may have changed a bit. Here’s the thing: though I love music, as well as almost every musical instrument, it is not in my area of expertise. For example, I may hear a trumpet solo that sounds fantastic to me, but if a professional trumpet player is sitting in the same audience, he may think: “Boy, this poor fellow needs a lot of practice!”
I was reminded of this point recently while attending a funeral service. I presumed there were some in the audience that were touched or impressed with the words of the presiding minister. If they knew or were familiar with the true gospel, however, they would have instead been turned off. To some poor folks, anybody’s sweet sounding words will do. The problem here is that they will get very little benefit from it, especially in a funeral message. Many of the folks in a funeral need genuine hope, comfort, and more importantly, the truth. I can recall many funeral addresses of the past where the speaker is telling fairy stories which may sound sweet, but his message is nowhere near the true gospel message. Whenever any of these unqualified ministers also add personal words of advice, you can only imagine the harm that is done. As a fellow minister once said: “You can’t ask directions from someone who is also lost.”
That is why it is so important for those who feel God has called them and wants to use them to take heed of this advice from the Apostle Paul: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”(2 Timothy 2:15 NIV) The King James version reads: “Studyto shew thyself approved.” I pray that the next time you hear a message from the Word of God, it will be brought by one of God’s genuine ministers. If not, I pray you may grow enough in the knowledge of His word in order to be able to tell the difference.
God’s word for today (Romans 10:14-15) How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”