Jump Start # 2951
2 Corinthians 10:10 “for they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible.”
The other day the UPS truck stopped at my house. This happens often. The truck was clean. The driver, young, friendly and talkative. He waved as he left. It made me think about another delivery I had last holiday season. There was no brown truck. There was no friendly face, wearing a brown uniform. It was just about as opposite as you can imagine. It was a guy in a sweat shirt, driving a clunker. He pulled in my drive way. I thought he was turning around. He got out of his car so I went out to see what he wanted. He handed me a box. It was something that I had ordered. He was working delivering packages. As he pulled away, I wondered if his car would make it to this next stop.
What a contrast. Slick, clean, professional and a guy trying to earn a few dollars at the holiday season. But with both I receive what I had ordered. The boxes were fine. The contents inside were perfect. It was just the mode of delivery that was so different.
And, that takes us to our verse today. The contrast in delivery men made me think of the contrast in preachers. Some are like the UPS guy. Neat. Clean. Professional. Others are like the guy driving the clunker. But at the end of the day, it’s not the vehicle that your package arrived in that matters. What matters is whether or not you got what you ordered and what condition it was in. One quickly forgets the delivery man. And, shouldn’t it be the same with preaching? What matters is the content. What matters is the message. Sometimes we can get so concerned about the one who is delivering that we forget what was in the package.
Some thoughts from our verse today:
First, Paul is writing these words. He knew what people were saying. It had gotten back to him. What they were saying was intended to hurt. It was to step on Paul’s heart. Unimpressive and contemptible are words that no public speaker would want to hear. Paul had the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. How could they say that he was “unimpressive?” These vain hearts were more interested in the delivery man than the package that they were receiving. They were more impressed with the speaker than what the speaker had to say. And, we must be careful that we do not follow that same path. Some will say, “I don’t like the sound of his voice.” Or, “His clothes seems so old fashioned.” Seems to me that we are looking more at the truck than the package that was delivered.
Second, Paul wasn’t slowed down by those words. We don’t know if late at night Paul couldn’t sleep because he kept thinking about those words. But what we do know is that Paul kept right on preaching and teaching. Maybe he was impressive. Maybe he wasn’t as “good” as Apollos. Maybe the hearts of those that said those things were unimpressive. Today, some might quit if people said such things. Not Paul. He had a work to do and God was counting upon him.
Third, we need to focus upon what is being said and not how it is being said. I’ve have learned some incredible truths from some who were not very incredible in their delivery. Maybe in a speech class they would have to work hard to get a good grade. But this isn’t speech class. This is preaching the word of God. This is teaching God’s word. Some who seem very plain are pouring their hearts into all that they are doing. They are doing their best. When one takes notes and looks at what was said, the insight, the truths spoken, the wisdom—one can learn incredible lessons from God’s word. Move past the delivery truck and think about what was handed to you.
Fourth, one must wonder what those vain Corinthians were basing their criticism of Paul upon? Was it because he didn’t tell jokes? Was it because he was sober and serious? Was it because he said things that made them uncomfortable? The speeches that the Corinthians might have loved did nothing for them spiritually. The blind can not help the blind. Slick, smooth and professional can also be the tools of Satan to get us to listen to error and to put our hope where there is no hope.
I wonder if the apostle Paul were around today how many congregations would invite him to come and speak? I wonder how many of us would show up to hear him? Dry. Dull and plain, like toast without any jelly. Would that be our impression? Would we realize the amazing things he was saying?
Just because the truck is washed and the driver has a professional uniform on does not mean what he delivers is more important than the guy in a clunker. Listen to the message. Open the Bible. Lower your nets. Don’t fall for the shallow things that do not matter.