Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series


Why the Preacher Can't Quit

"Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name.

But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I

was weary with forbearing and I could not stay." JEREMIAH 20:9

Destined to be a preacher? "Yes! Absolutely and positively

yes!" That was Jeremiah's clear and resolute certainty at one

time. The word of the Lord came to him as he was busy with

his own agenda and he heard God say, “Before I formed thee

in the belly I knew thee; and before thou earnest forth out

of the womb I sanctified thee, And I ordained thee a prophet

unto the nations. Known before conceptions, sanctified prenatally;

ordained from eternity {Destined to be a preacher) Unequivocally and undeniably yes! But now, after some serious traveling on the prophetic roadway another thought occupies this preachers mind And it does not end with a question mark. It ends rather with a resounding exclamation mark. And the language is decidedly different. Heavy of heart and sunken in spirit, the prophet out of the village of Anathoth says in substance concerning his predicament,

(1)"Doomed to be a preacher!' Underscore the word "doomed."

Put it in big, bold caps. And lay upon it the most emphatic

note. "DOOMED! DOOMED!" "DOOMED to be a

preacher! Destined? Yes But also doomed! How sad and

forlorn such an utterance sounds. How replete with negativity.

There's nothing alluring at all about such a poignant

note. This is no way to encourage young prophets eager and

zealous in their efforts to speak for the Eternal. But honesty

obtains He will not deceive nor misled. His verbal posture

right now reads."Doomed to be a preacher "Almost from

the get-go, he knows nothing but turbulence. Few tail-winds

to urge him onward many head-winds to stifle and stymy.

.Indifference, obstinacy, betrayal, direct confrontation, hard opposition- all of these have been at work. Priestly resentment, hatred on the part of his countrymen, family disloyalty-these have assaulted his spirit. And yea, some have even sought to take his life. And all of it has stemmed from a sincere effort to tell the truth about God and about the human predicament. He has wept for his people-"O that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears. They have vexed his very soul to the extent that he has pleaded with God 'Let THEM be confounded that persecute me but let not me be

Confounded let THEM be dismayed but let not me be dismayed! bring upon THEM the day of evil and destroy THEM with double destructions. There's nothing pastoral at all about that kind of talk. The preacher is bitter, angry, just plain mad.

This is the ultimate personification of pulpit pessimism Deaf ears, cold hearts closed minds- no responsiveness-fruitlessness these have made for a sense of futility.

Nihilism, the absolutization of nothingness has captured

The preacher's mind and spirit He may have been destined

to be a preacher but now, in the throes of cold, clammy rejection he knows that doom is part and parcel of the portfolio. Now, don't look on this sorrowful scenario as some unique, isolated episode in the long history of the divine-human encounter. Jeremiah's experience is not novel. Others have been similarly vexed I'm sure you have known some preachers whose tongues spoke the language of bitter protest because of Fruitless field; onry-opposition and smug stagnant satisfaction with a damnable status quo have destroyed the

optimism of many a cleric, and preachers of the gospel and good news of Jesus the Christ. I have had to minister, on many occasions, to wounded warriors defeated divines, persecuted preachers. They began their ministries with zeal and enthusiasm anxious to woo and win alien souls to the Kingdom eternal but along the way storm clouds rose, and tranquility was overcome by the turbulence of angry winds and boisterous waves.

And when it gets like that when waves of trouble roll, and

the pain predicament is prolonged, it's not hard to hear the

soul speak up, saying in hurtful tones- Doomed to be a

preachi er”

Sad it is when one's visible situation produces such a

posture but it can become even worse. It can rise to a level

of the worst cynicism. It can get so bad that the preacher

gives up on God. Now that's the zenith, the vortex, the acme if you please, of preacher pessimism. To this preacher pessimism, tjis incredible and preposterous posture of futility Jeremiah came. “ O Lord, thou hast deceived me and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I and hast prevailed; I am in derision daily; everyone mocketh me For since I spake, I cried out; I cried violence and

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