© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved|
Ministers Who Promise Much But Deliver Nothing
In this world which is likened to a desert, we meet people every day who are looking for life or "refreshing cool waters" to quench the thirsting of their souls. Sad but true, these famished souls come to the church looking for one "drop" of spiritual water but end up leaving disappointed or disheartened. Some preachers offer the explanation for their lack of Holy Ghost Power or "rain" by saying that the days of Miracles went out with the early Apostles. Now, all they have to offer the folks are intellectual arguments or ear-tickling sermons - which contain no wholesome instruction or answers for their life's dilemmas. Unfortunately, the people are coming thirsty and leaving famished. So many of them end up running to the world for answers. The Church which promises so much is delivering nothing.
"The Arabs compare persons who put on the appearance of virtue, when yet they are destitute of all goodness, to a light cloud which makes a show of rain, and afterward vanishes."
- Barnes' Notes
"Ministers should be as wells or fountains, where the people may find instruction, direction, and comfort."
- Matthew Henry
"Nothing is more cheering in the deserts of the east than to meet with a well of water; and nothing more distressing, when parched with thirst, than to meet with a well that contains no water."
- Adam Clarke
If you were a farmer who had a large crop, a sky full of dark clouds would be a welcome delight. However, imagine the frustration for this same farmer when the wind blows and disperses these clouds so that no rain falls at all.
How about the traveler in the hot sands of the desert who comes to a well - hoping against all hope for one drop of water to quench his thirst - and finds the well to be dry. Just imagine the hopelessness that overtakes him at this point in time.
Well, the Scriptures talk about both "clouds without water" and "wells without water."
Jude 1:12 says - "These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds..."
2 Peter 2:17 says - "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. "
Interestingly enough, both Jude and Peter referred to False Prophets or Teachers when mentioning the "clouds" and "wells" "without water." Jude said they were "ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ"(Jude 1:4). Peter described them as "having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices...Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray... While they promise...liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption..."(2 Peter 2:14-15,19).
Please take note especially to Peter's words concerning these powerless phonies - "...While they promise...liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption..." Here we have Preachers who - like the "clouds" - seem to be charged with refreshing showers. They are those from whom the people expect to receive "rain" or in this case - "deliverance" - but they have nothing to give.
In Deuteronomy 32:1-2, we get a clearer understanding of what this "rain" is that these Preachers are lacking. The Scriptures say - "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of My mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain..." Just as the rain makes the herbs and grass fresh, fragrant, and growing - even so does God's Word or wholesome instruction make the hearts of men soft, pliable, and fruitful.
In Proverbs 25:14, King Solomon added this thought about those who promise much but perform little or nothing - "Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain." This is the Preacher who doesn't have it in his power to give what he promises. He boasts of having great gifts and spiritual knowledge - but has none. He pretends to be something that he is not. He raises the people's expectations of mighty things that he will do - with no performance.
This is the Preacher who is so full of "hot air" because he has no Word of God for his substance. He can surely impress the crowds with his eloquent speech and fancy words, but he has no "life" or instruction to give - for he is not full of the Word of God. At first glance, he appears to be very spiritual - with his so-called passion and zeal. But, on further notice, or after a period of time while sitting at his feet, one has to realize that this "cream puff" is just that - full of "air."
Although the Scriptures do mention "clouds without rain" and "wells without water" in the context of False Teachers and Preachers, we would like to also apply these pictures to the Christian or Minister who does not deliver the "goods" - so to speak - to a lost and dying world.
The world is looking for answers from the Church. It is looking for power as well as wisdom. That is not asking for too much - since each believer is walking hand-in-hand with the Mighty Creator of the universe Who has "all power in heaven and earth"(Matthew 28:18) and also contains all the "treasures of wisdom and knowledge"(Colossians 2:3).
But, what does the sinner find when he visits most of the churches across the land?
He finds believers who - generally-speaking - have "faith without works"(James 2:26)...are "without holiness"(Hebrews 12:14)... "without faith" (Hebrews 11:6)... "without understanding"(Romans 1:31)..."without heart" (Hosea 7:11)..."without a foundation" (Luke 6:49)..."without strength" (Romans 5:6)... and seemingly "without God" or "Christ"(Ephesians 2:12).
How disappointing is it for someone who is oppressed of the devil or suffering immensely - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually - to come to church expecting something good to happen - only to leave the same way as he came. This should not be!
Most Christians do not have enough water in their well to heal a fly - simply because they are not doing their homework. They never give themselves to the study of God's Word. Oh! They give the appearance that they are super-spiritual - speaking the Christian lingo. Like storm "clouds," they make alot of noise and put on a great "light" show, but they don't deliver any "rain" in the end.
The Word of Truth is the only "water of life" that can refresh the souls of mankind. Prophetic words are fine and have their place. But the solid Word of God is what will give and sustain life.
Did not the Lord Jesus say - "My words are spirit and they are life"(John 6:63)?
So many are eager to take on a title. They want to be in the limelight. It isn't long before everyone realizes that they "ran," but were never "sent."
Having money doesn't make you a Minister of the Gospel. A loud booming voice or a charismatic personality doesn't do it either. You can go ahead and try to minister with these traits, but it won't be long before you and everyone else realizes that you are nothing but a "cloud without rain" and a "well without water." You look good on the outside, but you have nothing to offer that will enliven or refresh the souls of your hearers.
What about it, O Christian? How do you stand today, O Man or Woman of God? Do you have "rain" in your "cloud"? Do you have "water" in your "well"? And how much is there? Is there just enough to quench the thirst of one dying soul? Suppose the Lord would call on you to bring life to a multitude of people? Would there be enough "rain" in your "cloud" to bring in the harvest in your family...on your job...or in your neighborhood?
Are you satisfied being a "showboat" for Jesus - someone who makes alot of noise and looks real spiritual but cannot deliver the "spiritual goods"?
Read again what Pastor Henry said about Ministers - "Ministers should be as wells or fountains, where the people may find instruction, direction, and comfort." We ask you, Pastor - Are your people finding instruction, direction, and comfort while sitting at your "well"? Or do they have to go to another.
If you call yourself a "cloud" and you want everyone to see you "rising" to the sky, then you better make sure that when you hit the top, you have alot of "rain" to deliver to the crowds. Don't let the "winds" of pride and vanity blow you apart - where you end up with nothing to offer but "hot air."
May God Bless His Word.