I wonder how many times people have heard that as they were turned down for a job. I suppose it might be the nicest way to reject an applicant. The unfortunate thing is that many preachers have heard similar comments, usually when they are asked to leave. I can't help but think of the prophet Amos.
For some reason God chose that old country boy, a shepherd and farmer (Amos 1:1; 7:14) who came from the sticks of the Southern kingdom to preach to the more sophisticated social elite of the Northern kingdom. Just imagine sending an Arkansas hillbilly to preach to people in New York City and you have the picture. Our first reaction might be, "What in the world was God thinking?" The people of Israel, and Amos himself, wondered about that.
And Amaziah said to Amos, O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom. Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel (Amos 7:12-15). We don't want you, he was told. And Amos as much as answered, "Hey! This wasn't my idea!" But Amos obeyed God and preached what he was told to preach.
What most of us want in a preacher is a Hosea, the one we call the prophet of lovingkindness. We want someone to pat us on the back and tell us that everything will be all right as long as we have sincere hearts and try real hard to be good. The truth is that Hosea is more the exception than the rule when it comes to God's prophets. The rest of them never mince words and tell it like it is no matter who doesn't want to hear it. Why do you think so many wound up sitting in prison, running for their lives, or being martyred?
What we must understand is that we do not always, maybe even seldom, know exactly what we need. It may very well be that what I need is a good swift kick in the rear to wake me up from self-delusion about my spiritual state. Do I want that? Of course not. I doubt if anyone does, but I will be much happier in the end if I get what I need instead of what I want.
Be careful about thinking you know exactly what you need spiritually. People who are watching you may have another viewpoint altogether. Remember that when an Amos approaches and be ready to thank him.
And he said to me, Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD. And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them (Ezek 2:3-5).