“The devil will let a preacher prepare a sermon if it will keep him from preparing himself.”
~ Vance Havner
This morning I was looking over Bethie’s shoulder as she perused the morning news via the Internet. I noticed that the person highlighted in the article had spent some time in her career as a “motivational speaker.”
Those two words stuck with me this morning. I thought about how the church has “motivational speakers.” There are speaking circuits for such eloquent and inspiring talkers. Thousands of listeners perpetually fill grand halls designed for mass aural absorption of singular orations. It is not that these orations aren’t good necessarily. There is certainly a place for encouraging, exhorting, and admonishing believers.
Havner was on to a biblical truth in his statement above. It comes from James 1.
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness[h] God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. 22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
I believe James is teaching us that we don’t need a church full of motivational speakers, but we DO need the church to be filled with 100% “motivational listeners.” We need to ALL be quick to listen to God’s Word and to “accept the word God has planted in [our] hearts.” For it is easy to reject it.
James is teaching us that we also must not merely be “motivational listeners” of God’s Word but ultimately “motivational doers” of it.
That’s what I think Havner was getting at.
Our churches all too often are centered around motivational speaking (whether that be a “special speaker” or simply “the preacher”). What the church needs is simply doers of the Word. What motivational speaking would we need if we all simply were doers of the Word?
Of course, the church was given “pastors and teachers” as spiritual gifts. It is not as though we do not need them. Christ knows best. We do need them. However, note the goal of all spiritual gifts as described in Ephesians 4:
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ,who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
May we all be “motivational hearers” of God’s Word which leads us to be “motivational doers” as well. Sometimes the speaker needs to be the listener and the doer more so than the audience!
Of course, in writing this, I am proving my own point!
Grace and peace to you today as you DO the Word of God in everything you do and may we grow to become more and more like Christ this very day.