We were fresh out of college and went off to the big city. Our first real jobs were exciting – and stretching.
My buddy invited me to join him for church one Sunday. He was part of a televangelist-focused megachurch. The main preacher loved the spotlights and glory that came with his position. The wall behind the stage was covered with all manner of crutches and braces from people who may or may not have been healed through that ministry.
That preacher was not the kind of guy I liked. His wife single-handedly kept Mary Kay in business. His ego was big enough to fill the arenas he headlined, and I’ve never appreciated massive egos. A few years later, his expense account came to light, and there were several areas of his spending that (in my opinion) did not honor God. I was frustrated about those who sacrificially gave and unknowingly built that preacher’s empire.
But my buddy was growing in his relationship with God. He went to church almost every time the doors were open. He was reading his Bible with great enthusiasm. And he still follows Jesus.
Paul had a few things to say about this. In Philippians, he writes, “… others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely … But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice.” In 1 Corinthians, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”
Though the messenger may have been flawed, God is big enough to overcome the weaknesses of the message-bringer. Let’s not focus on who is doing the speaking but rather on God’s message.
(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)