SHOULD GOD HAVE
No matter how faithful the preacher or how
hard he works, if certain numerical results are not visible, some in the church
will insist that he be replaced. The contributions and the attendance figures
are used as gauges. The preacher's work is evaluated by statistics.
Poor old Noah worked long and hard in
building the ark. He was a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5).
Although he may have preached and worked on the ark for many years, when the
showdown came, only his immediate family went into the ark with him. All that
work and only eight souls (counting the preacher) were saved! Some of the folks
who assess preaching by numerical results probably wonder why God did not drown
old Noah in the flood! They would argue that his work was ineffective and
without impact. But God demands faithfulness, not what we add up as "visible
results." We need more preachers like Noah.
The concept that in the absence of certain
numerical developments a preacher is not doing his job may lead to tactics
and schemes that are wrong. A preacher may feel pressured and obligated to
attain "results." Therefore the message is watered down. Emphasis is placed on
whatever may attract more people. Higher statistical ratings take priority.
Dedication to "preaching the Word" takes a back seat.
God blessed Noah despite the small numerical
showing from his work. There are some things far more important than counting
noses and adding monetary amounts. God promised through Isaiah that His word
would not return to Him void (Isa. 55:11). Spiritual increase is more valuable
than mere numerical increase. Let us show faith in God by loyally proclaiming
the gospel without trying to force a particular kind of increase. Paul said,
"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase" (1 Cor.
3:6). Our task is to be faithful in planting and watering. God handles the