For some reason I woke up off and on though the night thinking about my last blog on this topic. Consequently, I am revisiting this issue. I have returned to this issue to discuss it from a traditional point of view. By traditional I mean the way it is commonly used to refer to a man and his ministry. We often tell young preachers that if you truly are called of God you will not need any man's help. He certainly cannot aid God in the process himself. He is to tell no one that he is called. He is to just pray and study and God will do the rest. Strictly speaking, this is very seldom the way that it happens no matter how much we protest to the contrary. Thank God for when it does.
The larger point that I want to make with this blog post is "the gift will make room" for the man. Certainly the gift will make room for the man, but men will always attempt to determine the size of the room. We tell the man that his gift will make room for him, but then tell him how big his room can be and where it must be built.
I understand that a novice preacher will need fatherly direction, but the novice is not the only one who receives this kind of pressure. Men who have been consistent and faithful for decades are still receiving pressure about the size and location of the room their gift made for them. My dad at 66, who has been preaching since he was 17, is still receiving political pressure from local groups. Men began to feel like they are the lords of their territories.
If we are going to argue that a man's gift will make room for him, then we must let him operate in the room his gift has built. I understand that there are exceptions and parameters, but not many. Especially for the experienced man of God. We should never judge a man by a single place that he preaches. Neither must we judge a man by the minority of the places that he preaches. We should judge a man by the whole body of friendships that he has, not a nuanced list of men for whom he has preached.
If we are going to insist that a man's gift—and not the man himself—will make room for him, then we have to allow room for the gift.