Ezekiel 2:1-2; He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
When God speaks are we allowing the Holy Spirit to move us in such a way that we snap to our feet like a Marine at morning roll call? How about when we hear the truth of the gospel being preached, can we honestly say “I heard him (God ) speaking to me?”
Being a native of the NJ/NY metro area I have seen my share of street preachers. Most of the time as I walked the streets of the city I would do everything I could to avoid these overly hyper shouting radical men on a soap box (sometimes a bucket). To me they seemed to preach a message of doom and gloom pointing fingers at everyone walking by calling them sinners and screaming of our need to repent before God’s great and mighty punishment. And I was not the only one walking out of the way to avoid these guys. Some people would actually walk across the street and down the other side. Others, like me, would skirt by really fast glancing over but doing everything possible to NOT make eye contact. At that time in my life they seemed strange and even borderline nuts making me wonder if they needed to be committed or have been in the past. And let’s face it if I ran into one now on the streets of Terre Haute, IN I would probably still think they were a little…crazy.
Or is it something else? Maybe we’re uncomfortable with true street preachers because some are willing to be radical for Jesus, live what they preach, obey God, and have extreme faith. They are willing to preach whether people will “listen or fail to listen.” (Ezekiel 2:5)
And come to find out as I study Ezekiel guess what, he served as a Jewish “street preacher” in Babylon for 22 years, telling everyone about God, salvation, and calling them to repent and obey. Not only that Ezekiel “lived” what he preached and preached in some very radical ways. If you think standing on a soap box screaming to passer-by’s is odd. How about lying on your side for 390 days straight eating only eight ounces a day that is cooked over cow poop (oops…I mean manure). But this is exactly what God asked Ezekiel to do and no matter how strange it seems he obeyed. (Ezekiel 4:4-8)
So based on these facts if Ezekiel was preaching on the streets of NY or even Terre Haute for that matter I’d probably avoid him, as well as treat him as a certifiable nut case because it’s uncomfortable and out of the box. God may not ask you to do anything as dramatic and crazy as eating food baked over cow poop, but if he did…would you do it?
I am finding this extremely radical street preacher is exactly what I want to be. Funny how what I once avoided is what I’ve been striving to become MORE of. God wants us to live outside our comfort zone, preach His Word whether people will listen or fail to listen, live what we preach, and obey Him whatever, wherever, and whenever he asks.
When it comes to your students are you preaching to them boldly and setting the pace by living out what you preach? Our students don’t need us on our soap boxes, but they do need us to be radical, bold and be willing to go outside our comfort zone as we lead them and disciple them.
I hope you haven’t cooked food over cow poop, but in what areas of your ministry have you been stretched outside your comfort zone?