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Preacher, the Time Is at Hand

Preacher, the Time Is at Hand

The past four months my youngest daughter raised guinea fowl from keets to young adults. Over this time, we enjoyed learning about them, seeing them develop, and laughing at their odd behavior. However, the ending of our story is a sad one.

For six guineas became five (A chick died within the first week.). Then five became three (Two circles of feathers one morning make us think owls got them.). Then three became two (Another disappeared without a trace.). Finally, two become none (The police showed up because the last two were squawking loudly in the neighbor’s bushes across our busy road. We had tried to train them to stay on this side without success. Knowing that “becoming none” was only a matter of time for us one way or another, they are now safely located on a friend’s farm.).

We acquired the guineas just as the Corona lock downs were beginning. We did not realize at that time they could be an emblem of this time. For one thing we learned, first by the internet and then by observation, is what a group of guinea fowl are called. A confusion. As they walked around the yard, frantically darting their heads around, running and stopping and fluttering again and again, each one looking for the other to lead, they are indeed quite the picture of confusion.

As such, they are a fitting symbol of our day. A mascot for 2020. The Western world as we have known it is spinning out of control. A virus no one can see has wreaked havoc. Then an act of brutality everyone saw wreaked even more. Each day seems more surreal and confusing than the previous one.

Many voices have arisen offering to guide us. Politicians promise to deliver us, whether by shooting out fiery Tweets or offering mask-muffled messages. Mobs have taken to the streets toppling statues, looting stores, and calling through bullhorns for the oppressed to overthrow those in power. In the radicalized individualism of our day, I would think every person there is uses social media to pontificate, if it were not for my wife who avoids it like the plague (it is?). So many voices swirling, posturing, contradicting, arguing, trying to take us this way and that. What utter confusion.

Above this cacophony, a certain voice needs to arise above all others. Preacher, the time is at hand. You need to find your prophetic voice, raise it above the din, and declare with singular and certain tones the kingdom of God. Like Ezekiel, you must swallow God’s scroll and tell the wicked “You shall surely die!” if they remain outside Christ. Like Jonah, you must tell cities and nations they will perish unless they repent. Like Isaiah, you must warn against false worship and the mistreatment of others, for the two great commandments still stand.

How we need preaching, and how we need it now!  When Paul asked, “And how will they hear without a preacher?”, he was not simply speaking of one believer sharing with another or a member evangelizing his neighbor, as important as those tasks are. Rather, when he raised that question in Romans 10 he was speaking of one thing. The church sending ordained gospel ministers to declare the Word of God to a hurting world.

Preacher, you are a herald of the kingdom of God. You must officially proclaim the message of the King with His authority. Your duty is to call the nations to obey His Word and bow to His Lordship.

Thomas Watson once said that God did not give us His Word merely to talk about, but to obey. He went on to say that if God had merely “given us His word to talk about, He’d have given it to parrots.” But instead, he gave it to preachers.

Preacher, now is not the time for your people to act like guineas or for you to behave like a parrot. The time is at hand for you to call people to faith and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Preacher, it is time for you to preach like you have never preached before.

This article originally appeared here.

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Barry York was a church planter, academy administrator, and pastor for over two decades before recently assuming the role as Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA. Barry and his wife, Miriam, were married in 1985. They have six children and one grandchild.