We all have them. Favorite drink at Starbucks. Favorite sports team. Favorite vacation spot. And yes, even favorite pastor. You know, that one guy that you try to catch their podcast or their service on television when you can. The preacher whose book you buy whenever a new one comes out.
Guys like David Platt, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, John Piper and Mark Driscoll are all guys who have successful ministries, are highly sought after for speaking engagements, have best-selling books and seem like they have reached the pinnacle of ministry success. In all of that, many people in the church respect them deeply. Many pastors look up to these guys, desire to get to that point, where people outside of your church respect you and your ministry. So pastors even want to be just like them.
Yet, what happens when nearly any preachers books and teaching are available at the quick click of a mouse? What happens when hearing God’s Word comes from something that is completely separate from a corporate body of believers? What happens when we go to a conference not based on what is being taught but who is doing the teaching?
What happens is hero worship.
Now hear me out. There is nothing wrong with having a pastor/preacher/teacher that you are drawn to, challenged by and encouraged by. God chooses to use men and woman to be the vessels of God’s grace so that the gospel may be proclaimed and that the church may be built up. Scripture even encourages us to follow and imitate the example of those who have gone before us.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. ~ 1 Cor 11:1
God has certainly put people in place that we should imitate and press forward in our faith. The problem lies we begin to value the preacher above what they are preaching about. We become such a fan of the mouthpiece that we neglect our own following after Christ. We feast on the words of man that we no longer crave the very Word of God. Consuming the words of man can only fill our hunger for a time. The words of man were never meant to sustain us. The words of the Author of life were meant to be our daily bread and ever flowing water.
2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Peter 2:2-5
Feast on His words, not the words of a man talking about Him. Let God use these incredibly gifted and called men of God like Platt & Piper to point you to Him. Take what man says and go to the Scripture and make sure that what you’ve heard truly lines up with God has said. Otherwise, depending on the words of someone else to be your source of spiritual food is like having a a relationship with someone that you haven’t met, but you just hear about that someone through their friends. No true relationship exists when their is no personal investment and worship.
Be built up in Him, not in His servants.