Meanwhile, back at the San Jose mine in Chile…
The drillers are drilling, the families are watching and praying, the miners are waiting, and the advisers…are advising. One of the more unpalatable pieces of advice has been that the miners should not be told the truth about their situation, lest they give up hope. Experts in the human mind’s ability to withstand long periods of confinement advise against telling the miners too much about how long they may be stuck 2000ft down. Meanwhile, one after another the miners themselves plead, their faces artificially pale down the fibre-optic video link, for news of what is happening. What would you tell them?
As preachers our calling is to be truth-peddlars, passing it on wherever and whenever we get the opportunity. In an established, local ministry, however, where you know your people and they know you – this can be a tall order. Living with them as you do, you know exactly how a particular truth will hit home and exactly who will smart from its delivery. Hand on heart, we would love to say that we have always delivered the truth courageously, with an appropriate disregard for the consequences. Would that be true, though? Sometimes our doubts muzzle us, on other occasions our pastoral heart hushes our prophetic voice.
Paul enjoined young Timothy to ‘preach the word…in season and out of season’. Which word, and which season – that is the question?