An Open Letter to Open-Air preachers: Love God’s Weak Children.
Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” —1 Samuel 30:21-21
David was in a very dire situation. While he and his men were on a raid the Amalekites had raided David’s camp. They kidnapped David’s family along with the family of David’s men. The men of David were so upset they were about to kill David. Rather than be distraught, David strengthened himself in his God, rallied his men, and chased the Amalekites. The journey was grueling and two hundred men were out of energy to fight in the battle. That made some of Davids men very angry. Yet David disregarded the selfish soldiers and gave grace to the weak.
This is where I want to address my fellow evangelist on the front lines. It is very easy for those of us preaching the Gospel in the darkest places to grow bitter to the rest of Christ’s Church. Open-air preachers and other evangelists are always faced with confrontation. We are mocked, cursed at, and beaten. We get videos edited and sent to our employers to ruin our reputation. Many of us stand outside abortion clinics begging women not to murder their child only to receive a middle finger. The evangelist must study the word as hard as Pastors and are always in a position where they must defend their faith.
An open-air preacher spends his whole week fighting for the kingdom of God. They are tired, worn out, and even wounded. Then they step into a church and see men and women squandering the gospel. They see the people in church squandering the message of the kingdom. They see their brothers and sisters living for things of this world rather than living for Christ. They see cowardice.
We must faithfully call our brothers and sisters to repent. We must also be careful not to allow our hearts to grow bitter to the children of God. Look at what God calls the men who did not want to share spoils with those who were weak. He calls them wicked and worthless. 1 John 3:15 says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
Fellow preachers, heed my warning, do not be like the Pharisees. The Pharisee’s religious devotions were not for the glory of God but for the glory of themselves. They were puffed up. They fell into the trap of feeling entitled. They were so puffed up with pride that they thought of themselves as better than the rest.
We must remember dear brothers, that it is only by God’s grace that we have the strength to proclaim the gospel. We must remember that all who put their faith in Christ receive the same reward, that is, reconciliation to the Father. To know His love and to be reunited with Christ.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:10, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” It is for the lost children of God that we preach the gospel. How then can we abandon the ones who have been found? We must be very careful not to feel entitled. I have to often stop myself from thinking God loves me more because of what I do for Him.
Have the same mind of David. Rather than feel entitled, he recognized the grace God had bestowed upon him. He recognized that God provided the victory. That God loved these weak individuals whose spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. Brothers have that same mentality.
Grace & Peace,