Quick: what do Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart all have in common?
Answer: they’ve all made my life harder.
At various times, and in various ways, they all succeeded in sullying my profession, my faith, and, worst of all, my Savior. (He’s their Savior too, of course!)
They can’t help it that people are largely unthinking and gullible, sure, but they certainly could’ve stayed in bed with the right person (among other things).
For better or for worse (and usually for worse), television has a way of legitimizing things, including, and especially, people. Something about seeing a person on a screen makes them seem credible or desirable, or both. For my part, I’ve not only observed this phenomenon, I’ve lived it. Sure, not in an Oprah or Larry King kind of way, but in a real way nonetheless.
I’ve been recognized in restaurants and on airplanes. I’ve been asked for autographs. I get “fan” mail and “hate” mail. It’s all quite awkward, really, and I can trace much of it to my regular appearances on, mostly, 3ABN.
Not that I’m complaining. In perfect candor, I could not care less about the modest modicum of “fame” I have. But here is something I care very much about: God, in His own merciful, mysterious and inimitable way, has used my preaching to change lives by introducing people to Scripture, and to Scripture’s whole point—Jesus!
…the best preachers are practicers.
I’m happy to endure any social awkwardness or personal inconvenience, if I can help, even in some small way, to bring someone–anyone!–into this glorious faith and truth that has changed my own live so immeasurably, wonderfully and completely.
This is the life God has given me. It’s not the life I would’ve expected, but, and not many people can say this, it is exactly the life I would now choose for myself, given all the options the vast world affords.
Fame? Money? Leisure? Adventure? Power? Pleasure?
Not even close.
No, if I could do anything, I would preach.
I’m a preacher. It’s what I do, and who I am. As someone once said, “a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.”
Now here’s a little-known secret: the best preachers aren’t on television. In fact, the best preachers aren’t even preachers!
To put it as a variant of the age-old admonition, the best preachers are practicers. (As in, practice what you preach.) And there’s an even better way: preach with your practice.
What has God put you on earth to do? Build? Count? Heal? Teach? Sell? Manage? Create? Parent?
What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What will you be?
So do it. Enjoy it. Become it. Whatever it is.
Do it the best you can. Do it like only you could. Do it “with all your might” (Ecc.9:10).
And be sure, most of all, to do it to the glory of Him who gave you the desire, knowledge, and ability to do it in the first place!
Because then, in addition to doing it, you’ll be doing something else. Something very important. Something very significant. Something very beautiful.
And something very legitimate (television or not).
You’ll be preaching.
Post script: the preacher that preached to me was a computer programming student at the local college. And, so far as I am aware, he’s never once been on television.