f you are a public speaker, you prepare diligently and hone your presentation skills. If you are blessed and anointed by the Lord — if you speak and groups of people are touched, moved, inspired, motivated — invariably someone (usually several) will say something like this, “I wish I could do what you do. I wish I could speak the way you do. I wish the Lord would anoint me the way He anoints you. I wish I had a testimony like yours.” We should be careful what we wish for. An exciting, awe inspiring testimony is wonderful and often makes the one who shares it seem important. Most of those who ask do not realize that in asking for the testimony they are also asking for the test that must come before the testimony. A testimony comes though passing a test. Most of us are not thrilled about a test coming our way. A test in this arena we call life has no rules set up to cushion our fall. Retakes may or may not happen and the consequences usually remain with us regardless. Simply taking this test may cost you your reputation, your health, your wealth, your friends, or your very life.
Asking for God’s anointing on your life brings great responsibility. The anointed person will begin to see people and circumstances as God sees them. The anointed person will begin to grieve over the lost and hurting world. The anointed person will grieve over the circumstances in his/her church. The anointed person will spend sleepless nights contemplating the impact of his/her words and actions. The anointed person really understands that he/she does not have a right to look out for their own interests. Their decisions are made based on how they will impact the kingdom of God and other people.
Jeremiah is a powerful example of this truth. Jeremiah wrote the book of Jeremiah and the book of Lamentations. Those two books make up sixteen percent of the pages in my Bible. The religious and political leaders of Jeremiah’s day took his words very seriously, because his prophecies came true before their very eyes. The New Testament cites his prophecies concerning the slaughter of children by Herod, the purchase of the potter’s field with the money paid to Judas, and the establishment of the new covenant. During Jesus earthly ministry, some of the Jews believed that Jesus was in fact Jeremiah, who had returned. I would say that Jeremiah was anointed of God.
The religious and political leaders of Jeremiah’s day took his words very seriously, but that did not stop them from hating him. The anointing of God compelled Jeremiah to speak difficult truths to powerful people. The leaders of the nation mocked him, physically hurt him, locked him up, imprisoned him in dry wells, etc. Jeremiah was given many tests. He developed an impressive testimony, but it did not prevent the painful attacks of the people he was sent to speak to. We are not sure about the details of the end of his life. Tradition lists a couple of possibilities. The point is that he died in obscurity. Anointing does not guarantee fame, fortune, or comfort. Read Jeremiah and Lamentations.
My point is not to discourage you from asking for the anointing of God. I believe that every believer in Christ is given a ministry. We are all called to make disciples. We are all called to be ministers of reconciliation. Those callings require anointing. There is a price to be paid. My point is that we should pray for that anointing, while heeding the advice of Christ Himself to first “count the cost.” That way we will not be shocked, surprised, grow discouraged and quit the race.
STEVE ELLISON is director of Ouachita Baptist Camp in Arkansas. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.