It was years ago, but his words still resonate in my heart. It ‘s difficult to believe that those words came from the lips of a preacher. What he said to a group of preachers in a conference was, “I don’t visit hospitals, if one of my members see me coming, they know they are about to die.”
Ouch!! It hurt to hear those words coming from a veteran preacher to a group of young preachers.
Those words were so different than what I learned from my dad and many other wonderful men of God in my early preaching life.
Even though the brother who made that statement is a friend I have to respectfully disagree with him.
There are a number of reasons why I would like to encourage young preachers (in fact all preachers) to be concerned about those who are hurting.
(1) Jesus was concerned about those who were hurting. (Mark 6:30-34; Luke 4:18) If we want to be like Jesus we will show compassion in the same ways He did.
I vividly remember my Dad often quoting this poem: “For others Lord, for others, let this my motto be, help me to live for others, that I may live like Thee.”
(2) The Father commanded us to be concerned about those who are hurting. (James 1:27)
(3) When we visit we help lighten the burden of those who are hurting. (Galatians 6:1-2)
(4) We bring joy to others when we visit the hurting. (Philippians 2:1-11)
(5) We teach younger people the need for looking outside of themselves. (1 Timothy 4:12)
(6) We can better communicate the Word of God when we help those who are hurting. (Matthew 5:16) When we learn what is going on in the lives of those to whom we minister we will have a better understanding of how we can help them through our preaching of God’s Word.
When we see Christians as well as non-Christians who are hurting we will be more sympathetic and empathetic in our preaching. We will show more kindness in the way we communicate. A friend of mine shared this outstanding quote with me recently, “Pulpits are full of preachers telling one-legged people to jump higher & run faster.
This is just a small sampling of reasons for those of us who preach to visit. Please feel free to share your thoughts about why we preachers need to visit.
Dear Father, help those of us who preach to be concerned about people who are hurting. Help us to share Your love with everyone around us. Help us dear God, to be the light of Jesus in a dark world. In His Name we pray, Amen.