“As for you, son of man, you’ve become quite the talk of the town. Your people meet on street corners and in front of their houses and say, ‘Let’s go hear the latest news from God.’ They show up, as people tend to do, and sit in your company. They listen to you speak, but don’t do a thing you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead. To them you’re merely entertainment—a country singer of sad love songs, playing a guitar. They love to hear you talk, but nothing comes of it. -Ezekiel 33:30-32 (The Message)
These are the words of God given to the prophet Ezekiel around the time of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. Though they weren’t said directly to me, I think I can understand how Ezekiel must have felt.
Though I’m not a prophet of God, I do listen to him intently before I write or speak. And, often enough, people have come up after a service and told me how they enjoyed my message, or they really liked it or thought it was “really good.” And, I have to admit, sometimes I like that.
Sometimes, I like to have my ego stroked. My flesh desires that affirmation. Sometimes, I appreciate the accolades from others. But, sometimes, I don’t. Sometimes, I just get this overwhelming urge to say, “that’s too bad. I really wanted you to hate it.”
Often when I write or speak, I have a desire to convict people with words or, more precisely, to have God convict people through me. It sometimes even happens in my own heart when I speak God uses the process of writing and preaching to change me. But, I want to be used to change people’s lives. Yes, I want people to know the endless, undying love of a God that created them.
But, sometimes I want them to know that what they’re doing is just not right.
I want them to avoid eye contact after a message because they’re struggling with something I said.
I want them to send hate mail to the church because they vehemently disagree that what I called sin is a sin.
I want to have a heated discussion, right there in front of the stage after a service because someone in the audience hated what God said through me.
Then, I will feel like God is truly using me to make people more like Him.
I don’t want to be a country singer of sad love songs. I’d rather be a tool of the Most High God.