This year I have done something I quit doing several years ago. I have gone fishing. I have been three times to the same pond on my brother’s land and I have experienced little success. Literally, I would describe my efforts as “little success.” I have caught twenty-five or so fish but only two of them were “keeping size.” Two fish on two separate occasions.
I am not going to clean one fish and bring it home; too much trouble.
Those two fish went back into the pond.
I decided to reevaluate my fishing strategy. I remember my Dad having success using rubber worms so I went to the local bait store to purchase some.
On the back of the package, I noticed something that made me pause.
“Caution, Sharp Hooks”
Then under that “This product contains lead, a chemical know to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.”
Wow, I am glad they warned me about the hooks! [Please note the sarcasm]. I guess the California warning is due to the great sensitivity that Californians have about harmful elements.
Anyhow, my little fishing worm lures have warnings.
That is exactly how Pastor John Bevere ends Chapter Two in his book Good or God?.
There is a problem with warnings today.
People don’t want to hear them.
That is one goal for Bevere’s book. He wants to write about what we can do to live the best life we can on earth, but he also wants to warn us about what is not truly good in our life. He says “I want to both warn and teach” [Bevere, 25].
He cites Colossians 1:28 when Paul writes “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
Paul tells us that we need to pay attention to the warnings of the New Testament. Bevere says “If we heed them, we will have years of successful living in harmony with our Creator. However, if we ignore or violate the warnings, we too will suffer in a manner similar to Adam and Eve.”
Again, people don’t want to hear warnings. I bought a new bike in 2016 and the owner of the bike store insisted that I buy a bike helmet before I left his store. Some would say he just wanted to sell me a bike helmet. I took it as a warning. Don’t wear a helmet and you are courting disaster. I see bikers and motorcycle riders riding all the time without helmets.
Pastors who preach warnings from the pulpit run the risk of dissatisfying their flock. We live in a world where not only do we not like warnings but we really prefer to have the good news. Some pastors are so worried about negative reaction that every sermon is a “feel good” experience. Maybe the congregation will grow, more tithes will roll in and maybe the pastor’s book will sell better.
I don’t mean to be negative but I know of one local church that tired of sermons of warning and they dismissed their pastor quickly.
The Bible says in Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” Some pastors see their role as the watchman. The Bible says “study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then you will prosper and succeed in all you do” [Joshua 1:8].
Bevere says if we would heed God’s warning we could avoid the many “train wrecks among believers…if individuals had been both taught and warned.”
He finishes Chapter Two with these words: “There is nothing good for you outside of God’s wisdom or Word, nothing at all. If you believe this, let’s go further in our search for the difference between good and God” [Bevere, 26].
Maybe I did not really need the warning about sharp hooks on my fishing lure but I can tell you one thing, those hooks are there. I know; I have hooked myself. There is much in life that I am not aware of. As I continue into Chapter Three, I look forward to learning…
from a watchman.