When I first started in pastoral ministry, I asked the Lord to direct me to verses in the Bible upon which to build the ministry. I also asked the Lord to show me where I needed to take care in order to remain pleasing to Him and responsible in the pastorate.
One exhortation from Paul to Timothy has remained a cautionary counsel to me personally. Paul wrote to Pastor Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2Timothy 4:3-4
Paul was essentially warning Timothy that there will always be the temptation to preach and teach what people want to hear rather than what people need to hear. It’s incredibly easy to slide over from a place of biblical orthodoxy to a position of unbiblical relativism.
Today, there are those who like to have their ears tickled by very caring and loving shepherds who desire to love sinners to the point of approving their sinful behavior and disregarding the authority of God’s Word.
It is human nature to want our ears tickled. We desperately seek approval, even for things that are declared sinful in the sight of God. We would love to have our personal sin declared a non-infraction to a Holy and Righteous God even if the Bible says otherwise.
We are also all broken. As a broken, sinful people, it is virtually impossible to judge one another from our position of brokenness, which is precisely the reason why we need to rely on God’s Word to be “…a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105b
We may not be able to always accurately judge what is right and what is wrong, but God can and does in His Word, which is authoritative and absolutely true.
The tickling of ears is nothing new. It has been around for centuries as disclosed by the Apostle Paul and it seems to be alive and well today.
If I had my own human way, I would love to be an ear-tickler and tell people exactly what they want to hear. However, that would not only be disingenuous to my calling, but also harmful to those whose ears are being tickled.
Something to think about…