Advice for the Ages
Many people are good at giving advice, but few are good at taking it. And why is that? Likely it has something to do with pride. Many tend to think that they always know what is best for themselves and others. They elevate their own ideas and insights and are unwilling to genuinely consider another view.

I pray that such does not describe you or me. We need to be open-minded enough to realize that we don't always know what is best. It takes humility to sincerely consider the input of others when they are offering advice--especially when it is unsolicited.

Today's lesson is full of excellent advice. No, it's not excellent because it's my advice. In fact, it isn't my advice--I'm just passing it along to you. This advice is specifically for preachers, although I believe it is applicable for every Christian.

If some are causing disruptions in the local congregation, what should a preacher do? "Preach the word!" If some members are attempting to bind laws on others that God has not made, what should a preacher do? "Preach the word!" If some members are attempting to loose laws that God has made, what should a preacher do? "Preach the word!" If there are those in the congregation that are unwilling to work for the Lord and His church, what should a preacher do? "Preach the word!" If some members are living in sin, what should a preacher do? "Preach the word!" If there are those who are trying to undermine the preacher's work by spreading lies, what should a preacher do? "Preach the word!"

This advice is applicable in so many ways, and it has been around for nearly two millennia! The apostle Paul, late in his life, gave this advice initially to a young preacher by the name of Timothy - "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (II Tim. 4:1,2).

Would Timothy encounter problems as he labored as an evangelist? Absolutely! Many of these problems could be solved by simply faithfully preaching God's inspired word, and that's what Paul commanded him to do!

If one is really going to preach the word with all his might, he must always be prepared to preach it--whether it is convenient to do such under certain circumstances or not. Preaching the word includes convincing, rebuking, and exhorting others in harmony with the divine message. Additionally, when one is convincing, rebuking, and exhorting others (i.e., teaching them), such must be done with a patient attitude. Although the word of God is truth, sometimes it takes time (due to pride or ignorance) for the divine message to really sink in and penetrate minds and lives. That's why longsuffering is such an important attribute to possess when we're trying to help others.

Friends, although most of you are not preachers, that is not to say that you don't have a duty to teach the word of God and patiently convince, rebuke, and exhort those who need such.

"Preach the word!" Truly, this is advice for the ages. It is just as relevant and helpful now as it was 2000 years ago. When we fail to preach the word as we should, problems are bound to increase and the Lord's work will surely be hindered. May we have the wisdom to accept this inspired advice and continually practice it!