I had the pleasure of spending time with an Elder and Former Pastor this past week. I am still chewing on our conversation.
At one point, we talked about the challenges we face in the pulpit as Pastor/Prophet/Shephard. The largest challenge to many has been expressed as leading and managing the sheep, but one of the largest issues we face today is the delivery of the Word.
At a point, we talked about the struggle many have with high blood pressure. He said, “I could lower my blood pressure by not putting so much salt on my food,” but I love adding flavor to my meal and can’t stand eating bland food. Despite the efforts of the cook, he and many have already decided that the work of the chef isn’t enough.
We Add Flavor Before Feeding!
Many dinners have decided to season the food even before they taste it. They have developed a taste for the salt, and not the flavor of the delicacy they are being served. In this, many of us are simply ordering food we wish to alter, not praying for a will we are willing to accept.
What is Served is the Chef’s Intent!
Interestingly, the chef makes the dish according to his recipe and also taste the food before serving it. When the meal touches the table, it properly represents the flavor and look of the chef and will created the experience desired by the chef. Moreover, it represents the full training and expertise of the chef. The meal is the culmination of years of experience and training that apply techniques and creativity from the chef with the dinner in mind. He has considered what looks appealing, and what emotions will be invoked, and what utensils will be utilized during this encounter with the dish .
Season to Taste?
While there was a time when we took the biter with the sweet, many of us have restricted out pallets from the full range of flavors and experiences designed for you. We sit down in the pew (couch or desk) as a dinner, and flavor to taste.
God creates a healthy dish of conviction or correction! And as opposed to partaking of the meal and reaping the benefit of its intent, will cover it with seasonings and condiments because we don’t desire to become healthy, we only desire to be fed.
We use the seasons on the table to change the flavor of the dish to fit our desires. We make things spicier, saltier, & sweeter. We create our own experience, but don’t have the discipline or time to cook for ourselves. No consideration is given to the artistry of the chef, and the dinner is void of the experience designed for them.
The Waiter Special
Worse, what we discussed is a more challenging obstacle that the prior. What we have experienced as of late is not the dinner seasoning the food, but the waiter himself seasoning the food.
First, we generally have though of the preacher/pastor/prophet as the chef and not the waiter, but in this moment, I would like to redirect us to a time when God was speaking, man was listening, and reporting. The Prophets would go to the Lord and listen carefully, taking dictation like a court reporter. Each word was documented and read aloud in the presence of the court to inform them of what had transpired in the Prophets presence of the All Mighty. So today, lets put the Pastor/Prophet in the position of Waiter and not Chef.
The Prophet is the Waiter
not the Chef!
The challenge of today is The Waiter:
1. Picking up the Food (from The Station)
2. Tasting the Food (after it has been prepared)
3. Seasoning it to Their Taste.
The waiter takes the creation of the chef, and then alters the flavor and impact of the message by seasoning it to his own taste and liking. When this is done it creates a new creation from the original. In some cases, the waiters seasoning of the meal is being served as a new creation, justifying the waiters claim to be the chef.
The Waiter is Qualified
to Serve the Dish
I asked myself as a waiter, who am I to season the chef’s cooking?
I was selected to serve the food. My calling and responsibility is to go between the Chef and the Dinner and deliver the meal. I can hear what the dinner needs, but can only hear what the chef prepares.
I am also responsible for helping the dinner understand what is on the menu. My job is to help the dinner understand what sacrifice is require of each thing on the menu. The waiter is charged to know the menu, and the distinct intricacies that are in each dish. I am responsible for presenting the menu to the dinner. I am responsible to deliver the order to the Chef. Last, I am charged to serve the Dish to the dinner.
Just a Smidge More!
In this day, where there are a multiplicity of voices serving the same message, many waiters have resorted to sprinkling each dish they serve. It’s as though the waiter taste the meal prepared by God and says, “Just a Smidge more!”
There is a danger to altering the meal! While the original dish has the balanced nutrients needed for the body to grow properly, the added seasoning could lead the body towards an unhealthy future. I present to you that some of the unhealth in the body of Christ is due to seasoning.
Too many are branding their servanthood, as opposed to branding the one they serve. Our names have become synonymous or have exceeded the name of the name that is above all names. Our style has become a filter to the image we present, and our character has become a barrier to the exhibit itself.
Sadly, the seasoning of the meal by the waiter has created a taste for that which is filling but unhealthy! The taste buds have adjusted and now seek that which scratches the itch and in the process leaves a scar.
This is nothing new. Sound doctrine falls in the forest without an ear to hear, while noise permeates the airways and fills the ears of those who listen. A revival is needed, but has been removed from the menu and replaced by spiritualty that blends Christ with witchcraft, Holy Spirit with crystals, Yahweh with mother nature.
Sadly, what is being ingested by most is not even a watered down version of the Gospel. It’s a reengineered version that has roots and inspiration from what was, but has been compromised by those who have mishandled position and prophecy.
What is needed is a commitment not just to the growth or our oratorical ability, but to the commitment to spend time with the Lord, and the discipline and conviction to report what God reveals. And this responsibility is with the pulpit before it is with the pew.
While it is easier to speak words that will be accepted and entertain the hearer, we must be aware that these same words are likely not to bring life. Our goal like Christ is to help our brother and sister live life to the full, and not short-circuit their existence by allowing sin to reign and produce death.