Week 24 Friday

Listen or Not

Today’s scripture selection: Ezekiel 1-6

Key verse: Ezekiel 2:4-5

The job of a prophet in Israel was anything but easy.

But I suppose no prophet’s job is easy.  After all, he or she is usually saying things people don’t really want to hear.

No wonder God had a little “on-the-job” training for Ezekiel. He said,

“The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.  Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen…they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

That sums it up well.  Not just the job description for an ancient prophet – but for a follower of God today.

The world doesn’t need any more self-righteous, judgmental types.  It doesn’t need any more “know-it-alls”.  But it does need, just as it always has, people of faith who will tell it like it is.

The world needs people who are willing to lovingly, humbly, but honestly live their lives as examples for others.  It needs individuals who have the courage and conviction to stand for justice and mercy; truth and compassion; holiness and grace.

You may not think you are a called “prophet” of God.

But if you have heard God’s words and felt God’s presence in your life in a powerful way, you do have a message for the world.  And it is a message that is deeply needed.

So, remember Ezekiel – and his often difficult job.

Take your message, however you feel called to share it, to those you encounter every day.  Take it carefully; deliver it compassionately.  But deliver it just the same.  And if you aren’t much of a public speaker, remember that actions always speak louder than words.

And, “whether they listen or fail to listen…they’ll know that prophet has been among them.”

Prayer: Sovereign LORD, give me words and show me the way to share your message with those who need to hear it – especially those in need of a word of grace.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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