Brother Barnard once said, “Henry, be careful what you publish! If you preach and teach unwisely and impulsively you can apologize, retract your statements and make amends for your attitude and spirit, but when you put a matter down on paper, send it to the printer and distribute it – it is there for all time and continues to find its way into the hands of men. It might be wise to wait patiently on the Lord, get a little experience and wisdom, then burden men with what you feel that you must say, remembering that if your voice is the only voice men20hear and your words the only words men read, nothing of any spiritual value will be accomplished. Men must hear Him speak Who speaks from heaven and it is only His Word which finally convicts of sin and reveals Christ.”
I suppose that the most difficult thing any believer has to learn is that “Without Him we can do nothing.” This is our creed but not our experience! We will never be effectually used for God’s true glory until it becomes our experience. God will never use men that are proud enough to think themselves necessary or capable. He will throw away the vessel which begins to boast in itself or allows others to boast in it. Whatever is our strength in the flesh is sure to become our weakness in the spirit – whether it be our intelligence, our morality, our length of service, our doctrine, our courage or whatever. Gideon feared the Midianites because of the small number of his soldiers, but the Lord said, “Your soldiers are yet too many for Me.” I20wonder if we will ever become weak enough, empty enough, and ignorant enough for God to use us for His glory! The logic of the Lord is strange to the natural mind. “For when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:10). “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Cor. 12:9). The Lord must go back to the seashore and raise up some fishermen – we’ve all become masters and doctors, wise men in theology and great counselors. I disqualify myself for God’s use when I become qualified. My fine talents and lofty credentials become hindrances rather than helps. I though to prepare myself for great things, only to learn that it was the rough voice in the wilderness He planned to use, not the polished preacher; it was the weak, impulsive shepherd with the sling He planned to use, not the mighty warrior with his armor of wit and arsenal of facts, doctrines, and learning. It may not be too late for some, but most are too pro ud to become expendable. If we don’t pour contempt on ourselves – God will!
- Pastor Henry Mahan