We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.
By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services
“Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: ‘Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words.’” — Amos 7:10, NIV
There is an all too human desire to avoid uncomfortable truths by silencing those who are speaking them. We don’t like bad news and can take out our displeasure on the source of the news, however innocent they may be. This tendency is so widespread that we even have a maxim warning against it: “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
If that seems like an overstatement, it isn’t. There have been rulers throughout history who insisted upon only hearing positive things, some going so far as to execute anybody who brought bad news or spoke a troublesome truth. The Roman Republic claimed that part of its victory over Armenia came from the fact that the Armenian king’s advisors were afraid to give him truthful reports, for fear of being killed, which meant that his strategic decisions weren’t based on anything close to the war being fought.
Even today, leaders in politics and business worry about being surrounded by “yes men” (and perhaps “yes women”) who affirm any and all decisions rather than give honest feedback and advice. And perhaps you know someone close to you who refuses to go to a doctor, because the doctor might discover something is wrong ... as if we can avoid health trouble by not talking about it or admitting that it’s real.
Today’s scriptures have some of the earliest known stories about such attempts at avoiding the truth. In Amos 7, we read about a priest, Amaziah of Bethel, who tries to have Amos banished for predicting the Assyrian exile. And Amos responds that he isn’t even a prophet, but “a tender of sycamore trees.” Still, if the Lord has spoken, it doesn’t matter who delivers the message.
Right now, it seems like we live in a world that thrives on shooting messengers. Basic facts are disagreed upon to the point that there is rarely enough common ground to even begin a discussion, and sources are judged based upon what perspective they support rather than the quality of their evidence.
Brothers and sisters, do not be fooled. Truth may seem in short supply, but it does exist. And while everyone wants their opinion to matter, the only judgment that really counts in God’s. We have been down these twisted paths before — way back when a man named Amos was tending sycamore trees — but they do not last. Eventually, reality wins out. God’s plan comes to pass. And those who were listening to the truths that they were tempted to ignore are the ones who inherit the Kingdom of God.
Concluding staff prayer:
Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.
The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
Find more in the Light for the Way series:
Faith in the storm
Beyond books: one chaplain’s journey to experiencing God
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
Purposeful God, you are always at work in our world to accomplish your will, and you invite us to partner with you to achieve your purposes. Thank you for the guidance you give in the Bible for our lives. Thank you for the significance of what we do at Presbyterian Homes & Services, and for the ability to work together. Help us understand more clearly what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Then enable us to support the ministry we share for your glory.
We now lift up our joys and concerns for prayer.
We pray this so your name might be honored. Amen.
In addition to Light for the Way,
you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website