We recognize the importance of dignity. Our President has come under fire for using Twitter so much and for the inexcusable language which he has used. It’s interesting that the culture itself doesn’t mind the language or excessive social media use, but it does expect the one who holds “the highest office in the land” to conduct himself in a more dignified way. If it is true of presidents, is not more true of us who preach the Gospel?
The act of preaching and the character of those filling pulpits should be known for a dignity or gravitas which is befitting the ministry of the Word. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be happy, joyful, and fun loving people. Being somber is not the same as thing as dignity. I believe people enjoyed being around Jesus. He wasn’t “all gloom and doom.” But that does not mean that we can demean the sacred service he has entrusted to our stewardship.
The one who spoke God’s message was once highly regarded. Sadly, this is now rarely the case. Much of the disrespect shown the pulpit and pulpit preachers is due to the wickedness of sin blinding our culture. But preachers we must also look at ourselves and see the ways in which we have made pulpit work a common thing rather than a sacred service.
Ephesians 4:1 records Paul’s exhortation to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” I know this is talking about the entirety of our Christian life, but does it not also speak to our ministry? Are we not ambassadors of Christ?
If a dignitary from a foreign land came to visit your home, what would the expectations be? You would probably wear great clothes, clean your house, maybe even have something special prepared for the ambassador? What would you expect from the dignitary? Crass or common language would certainly not be in place as he made his official visit. The dignitary would be expected to reflect the honor of his position in his words, behavior, dress, and purpose. Why should we expect any less from the ambassadors of Christ?
I’m not saying that preachers deserve special treatment, that isn’t what this article is about. I am saying that the ministry deserves special treatment. To speak the word of God before the people of God is a tremendous privilege for which no man is worthy. Yet God chose to use us in that way for his glory. Let us be dignified as we carry out this most distinguished service.