• David Osteen

The Parable of the Forecasters

There was a small town along the coast that was directly in the path of a hurricane. There were many different cable stations on Friday warning about an impending monster storm.

1. One forecaster was an older white man warning of the doom – “Same ol’ guy warning about the same ol’ stuff. Can’t they get someone ‘new’ or ‘fresh?’”- So the people didn’t listen.

2. Another was a 20—something delivering news on a teen network – “Surely the youngster doesn’t know what he’s talking about. What experience does he have?” – They didn’t listen.

3. One was Asian – “Shouldn’t he be on a cooking show or on the business network reporting on stocks?” – They didn’t listen.

4. Another was a black forecaster – “This was probably an Affirmative Action hire. Let’s move along to another channel.” – They didn’t listen.

5. One forecaster gave too long a report – “All this guy does is talk about the weather. I don’t have time for this.” – They didn’t listen.

6. Another forecaster kept the warning short and sweet – “There wasn’t really enough meat in that report. We need more info” – They didn’t listen.

7. One was a Hispanic forecaster speaking perfect English – “Hmmm… I wonder how he got to this country… (mind drifting to illegal immigration) ? I can’t understand him with that accent and all.” - They didn’t listen.

8. One forecaster spoke too softly and calm – “This must not be urgent. He’s not speaking with much authority.” – They didn’t listen.

9. Another forecaster had no vocal range – “They’re so monotone. They aren’t showing any passion!” – They didn’t listen.

10. Another forecaster was yelling and moving all around the TV set pleading with people to leave - “We don’t like people yelling at us. He’s so loud and negative.” – They didn’t listen.

11. One forecaster was out in the field dressed in casual clothing – “He’s not dressed very professionally. He must not know what he’s talking about.” – They didn’t listen.

12. Another forecaster was at the desk dressed in a suit and tie pleading with people to respect the power of the storm – “He must think he’s someone special wearing them fancy clothes. If he dressed down a bit I could relate to him better.” – They didn’t listen.

13. One forecaster talked about the impending storm with a smile on his face the whole time – “He’s so positive. It must not be that serious.” – They didn’t listen.

14. Another forecaster had this severe scowl as he delivered the dire warnings – “He’s so serious and negative. I can’t stand him.” – They didn’t listen.

15. One forecaster was giving fact after fact of the power of hurricanes and the devastation they cause – “All this forecaster does is give facts. It’s so dry and boring.” – They didn’t listen.

16. Another forecaster was telling stories about people impacted by previous storms that had not heeded the warnings – “This forecaster is just playing to our emotions. We just need someone to give us the facts.” – They didn’t listen.

17. One forecaster was a bit overweight – “Why can’t they find more aesthetically pleasing forecasters to watch?” – They didn’t listen.

18. One forecaster was delivering the same news and warning as every other forecaster out there, but the people knew something about him – “This guy doesn’t even have a meteorology degree from FC (Forecaster’s College)!” – They didn’t listen.

19. Another forecaster was a complete unknown – “Who is this guy? Probably some local no-name fellow from a small market that no one has ever heard of.” – They didn’t listen.

20. Finally, on Sunday a nationally recognized big name forecaster that had a PhD from FC (Forecaster’s College) and told just the right mix of stories and facts, and was just the right age, and perfect mixed-race, with an amazing deep powerful voice that showed great charisma while being passionate and down to earth gave the perfect report that was not too long nor too short. On Monday everything still seemed like normal and a visitor to town asked, “Yesterday, what did the forecaster say about the weather this week?”, to which the townspeople pondered for a minute and responded, “We can’t remember.” – They hadn’t listened

Two days later the storm came. The town was obliterated. The people cried out to God, “Why didn’t you warn us?!?!” – God didn’t listen.

Speakers are judged. Teachers are judged (James 3:1). They are to be judged by God (Matthew 12:36) and they are to be judged by man (I John 4:1). But when men judge teachers they are supposed to judge like God judges – not according to appearance, but with righteous judgement. (I Samuel 16:7; John 7:24) Teachers are to be judged because of the weight, the impact, the seriousness of their charge – to preach the word (II Timothy 4:2). Not just any word – God’s word! The word that has the power to save men’s souls (Romans 1:16).

But Teachers are not the only ones who will be judged. Hearers, Disciples (Students), will be judged as well. Jesus spoke of two types of hearers. Those hearers who have their eyes, ears and hearts shut by prejudice as in the illustration of the parable above (Matthew 13:14-15); and those hearers who open their eyes, ears, and hearts to judge not just the messenger, but even more importantly, the message (Matthew 13:16). There are only two options; which are you?

You must judge, and you must judge now, so that if you find yourself lacking, you can repent, and open your ears to the gospel with the heart that God desires. Judge righteously, so that you might be judged to be righteous in the eyes of God. Many will plead their case before God in judgement, “God, why didn’t you warn us?!?!” But to those who have closed their ears to God and those who deliver His true message from the Scriptures, God’s ears will be closed to their cries in the judgement. Listen now… while God can still hear you! (II Thessalonians 1:7-11; II Peter 3:9-12)

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