“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15).
William Jennings Bryan was a gifted public speaker. Though he is perhaps most remembered for defending a state law against teaching evolution in public schools in the Scopes trial at Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, Bryan was active in politics. He ran unsuccessfully for President three times and served as Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. Two years before his death, the famous statesman said his greatest regret in life was that he had not become a preacher (Search for the Ancient Order, Earl West, vol. 4, p. 12).
Older preachers had a saying that was passed down to younger preachers. They said God had only one Son and He was a preacher. We don’t hear that saying as often as we once did. Why? We need preachers who will preach the Word of God, but the fact is that there are more preachers leaving the pulpit due to sickness, retirement, change of occupation or death than there are men deciding to enter the pulpit.
Churches and homes often fail to encourage young men to preach. Too many have an image of preachers and preaching that is not good. Some Christians are not supportive of their loved ones becoming preachers because they can make more money and have better job security doing something else. Others look at preachers as lazy failures at everything else they tried. Still others are so prejudiced against preachers because of all the scandals they have heard that they have no confidence in anyone who serves in the ministry. Some let bad experiences with a preacher color their thinking against all preachers. Yet when these same people find themselves in a congregation without a preacher, they are the first to cry, “We’ve got to find a preacher!”
The truth is that both sides are to blame for this tarnished reputation. Some preachers have dishonored their work and the church by how they have lived. In recent months I have learned of congregations letting their preacher go for not paying bills and committing adultery. On the other hand, there are churches that treat preachers and their family so badly that they leave preaching for good.
The fact remains, however, that preaching the gospel is one of the greatest works and highest honors on earth. Who else gets to speak regularly on behalf of the Lord of the universe? Who else is so directly involved in teaching and baptizing precious souls? When a young man decides to be a preacher, don’t say, “Poor boy—he doesn’t know what he’s getting into.” Encourage him. Pray for him. Tell him how great this work is. Help him to keep Romans 10:15 by his side at all times.