Unreasonable Voices

Who do I listen to? Whose counsel do I seek? What voices speak into me?

These questions are at the core of common ministerial advice. Through the years, I have received numerous sentences of counsel and wisdom from others. Such counsel has both shaped me and at times rescued me from wrong decisions.

I begin with an explanation of words.

"Reasonable People"

There are those around us who are stalwarts of stability. They are the co-workers who always arrive at work at a regular time, and leave each day at the same hour of departure.

They are the ones around you who seemingly have their lives neatly packaged together. All their loose ends are tied. They are tidy. They are predictable.

I have a question: would The Apostles have been in that category?

They lived UNREASONABLE lives! They accepted abnormal conditions. Their existence, according to outside observance, would have looked inherently unstable.

They traveled to faraway lands, and were told by Jesus NOT to financially plan for their journeys. They were put in prison just for preaching, yet they never ceased or "toned down" their messages.

What about The Prophets? All of them were different. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions. Elijah slew 400 false prophets. All of them stepped out by faith and worked unprecedented works for The LORD.

NONE of these men were reasonable, yet they were USED of God!

"Be safe"!

"Be reasonable ... Don't risk your ministry ..."

I cannot tell you the number of occasions in which I've received advice just like that. An elder saint or preacher would try to talk me down from a bold or challenging decision. Their words are usually some dressed-up version of fear:

"Consider the financial side."
"This is a dead-end choice."
"Nobody does that anymore."
"There's a safer way of attempting this."

But God's men of old didn't play it safe. They risked it all for The Kingdom:

"And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."
 - Hebrews 11:36-38

The voices I heed will determine much in my life's course. "Safe" counsel leads only to more trouble. Avoiding God's calling because of imagined difficulties will never help you.

If God is calling me to preach to Nineveh, then I must go.
If God tells you to leave Ur of the Chaldees, start your journey today!
You have to heed God's voice, even if it sounds unreasonable!

The Tyranny of Reasonable Voices

A modern writer once described his method of success in the following way: he "avoids the tyranny of reasonable voices".

Reasonable voices are, in essence, TYRANTS! They are the despots overruling your new journey in God. They are the taskmasters keeping you in Egypt while God's voice is trying to free you from bondage. Should I be safe, or should I be FREE to follow God's will?

I refuse the dictatorship of the ordinary. I leave behind the strangling sanity of the average, and dream for the different and new of God's promise. His destiny is more wonderful than I can comprehend, but the road to it requires my commitment to unreason. To uniqueness. To extraordinary and to change.

This is the courageous challenge of listening to The LORD. But we are not alone. Those who answer Heaven's call have always accepted uncertainty. Great and miraculous ministries of years-gone-by are known not for their adherence to the mundane, but to their unbridled willingness to step out in areas none had gone to before.

On that note, I end with a word of appreciation.

To the ministers and families who hear the call of The Kingdom ...

Thank you to the men and women of God who dare to do the hard and the different.

Thank you to the missionaries who leave behind the country of their birth and venture out into foreign nations and preach in new languages. Thank you for living as Abraham - as a pilgrim and a stranger in a new land - in order to reach the lost all around the globe.

Thank you to the evangelists who criss-cross the nation, all the while living in trailers and hotels and church quarters. Thank you for obeying the direction of God in every church. Thank you for your sacrifice to make revival possible in distant areas.

Thank you to the Pastors who stand as watchmen on the wall. Thank you for protecting the sheep and nurturing the newborns in God. Thank you for the courage to go to cities without churches and not being afraid to be the first to bring the message in that region.

Thank you to ALL of you who are NOT LIMITED to reasonable lives, but embrace the unreasonable and the crazy so that others can be saved.

Thank you for listening to God's voice!
And by all means, let us all continue to be unreasonable for the call of God!


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