“What is it with preachers anyway? They never seem to get enough! Week after week, there they are up there in front of us prodding us to get with it in doing this, believing that, having a new attitude about . . . If you can exhort a person about anything, they’ll find a way to do it. They’re never satisfied. What a change it would be if some day they would just get up and compliment us!”
Is it right for preachers to always be urging people on to greater heights? Would it be wise for them to take a rest now and then from doing so?
Well, Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church and told them how great they were doing. So, it certainly isn’t wrong to note progress when one sees it. But to this church—doing as well as they were—he also had this to say:
Finally, brothers, we ask and urge you . . . as you learned from us how you ought to walk and please God (even as you are walking), that you continue to do more and more.
1 Thessalonians 4:1
It wasn’t enough! Paul commended them (as we should when there is something to genuinely commend), but used that very commendation to urge “more and more” of the same.
No, it wouldn’t be good for preachers to stop urging, exhorting and encouraging. People need it; it is the task of a faithful preacher to provide it for them. So, don’t complain when the preacher starts digging under your toenails—that’s his job. Yours is to listen, to profit and to do what God says. And, to do it “more and more.” Be glad that your preacher is always asking for more—he’s one with Paul in doing that!