A preacher and a taxi driver died on the same day, and soon arrived in heaven. An angel stood waiting at the pearly gates.
"Come with me", said the angel to the taxi driver.
The taxi driver gladly complied and followed the angel to a huge, sparkling mansion. It contained virtually everything imaginable, from a huge bowling alley to an Olympic size pool. "Wow, I'm overwhelmed!" said the astonished taxi driver.
Next, the angel led the preacher to another area of heaven. But instead of a sparkling mansion, the angel led him to a dilapidated shack, equipped with a bunk bed, camp stove and a black & white television.
"Hold on", protested the preacher. "Perhaps you mixed us up. Shouldn't I be the one who gets the luxurious mansion? After all, I preached every Sunday and taught Bible classes for nearly 50 years."
"That's true", replied the angel. "But during your sermons and classes, many members fell asleep." "Okay", retorted the preacher, "But what entitles the taxi driver to a far superior reward?" The angel replied, "Because whenever he drove passengers around, they cried out for mercy and prayed without ceasing!"
Sometimes we preachers misunderstand our task. Someone has said, “We should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Paul wrote, “…Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” [Col. 1:28] If we take our preaching duties seriously, few will fall asleep.
Yet all too many preachers “soften up ” their messages, striving to pacify the members. Pacifiers, however, are designed to put babies to sleep. We shouldn't be surprised, therefore, if members fall asleep to lukewarm lessons.
Preachers ought to preach the truth, regardless of whom might be offended. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” [2 Timothy 4:2-4]
May we who preach do so to please God, not men. [Gal. 1:10] That is the only way God will use us to save souls and glorify Him.
Jesus, always Jesus!