Updated: Apr 18, 2021
You don’t get up one morning and decide you want to be a watchman. Only God gets to decide. It’s not the current “in“ thing to aspire to. It doesn’t come from a clique of self-appointed prophets, apostles or tattooed hipsters who lay empty hands on empty heads and appoint them to be a watchman. This may come as a shock to youthful wannabes who think it would be "cool" to be one but being a watchman called by God doesn't come with a secret decoder ring, invisible ink or gold badge proving you are a special agent on a mission for God.
There are those who fancy themselves as watchmen because they can post snarky Christian memes, cynical political cartoons, and conspiracy hot-flashes but these don't make you a watchman. You can act as a political watchdog, social commentator, moral crusader and revel in the “leaven of Herod” but none of these make you a watchman either. It may make you an armchair commentator, a conspiracy nut, or a wannabe but not a watchman.
True watchmen are never novices, rookies, glory hounds, spiritual posers, self-appointed prophets, or youthful wannabes. God never calls those with self-serving agendas or those trying to make a name for themselves. He doesn’t call the ambitious, arrogant, the proud or the elitist. They aren’t trying to gather a following, be popular, or become a serial collector of Facebook friends.
They are spiritually mature men and women who have been aged and seasoned through many dangers, toils and snares. At times it meant being sorely chastened and humbled by God. Their path has been stained with blood, sweat and tears. It is a hard, rocky road that leads to this calling. It demands long desert days in the wilderness like those tested before them. It means spending time with Elijah alone in his cave. The journey to the wall is a hard one – very hard. Many a watchman has found the words that God spoke to Paul to be true of their experience as well, “I will show him how many things he must suffer for My names sake.” Their pilgrimage is filled with affliction, betrayal, persecution, rejection and injustice. Being a watchman means being ostracized, banished, shunned, mocked and misunderstood. It means being labelled as a hater with a vendetta against the church. It often means that those who were once your friends wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire. In short, they have paid their dues.
There is nothing glamorous about being a watchman and, if the truth be known, many a watchman has found themselves at some point wishing God had never laid that mantle upon their shoulders. I have even said to myself that "no one in their right mind would want to be a watchman if they knew what it would cost them." Yes, you pay a steep price to be a watchman.
But most of all, true watchmen have a clear message that will resonate with those who have ears to hear. It is a message that was many years in the making. It didn’t come from a late-night pizza. It is a message refined in the furnace of fire - not in the church playpen. It has been slowly crafted in the Christian school hard knocks. It often requires many trips around the church block. In many cases it has meant being shredded in the church meatgrinder and they have the scars to prove it. Theirs is not just a head knowledge. It is a message that has been edited and re-edited until it has been made ready to publish. It is a message of truth they proclaim with the unwavering conviction of a crowbar stuck in cement.
Their mission is to the church not the world. They have not been called to challenge the world but to challenge the church. They know that judgement begins first in the house of the Lord. They fully understand Paul’s words concerning this, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (I Corinthians 5:12 & 13a) The wannabes can man the political ramparts, stand upon the bulwarks of church hype or make waves on social media but they do not speak as the “Oracles' of God.”
They are men and women God is raising up today but the real watchmen will only mount the walls when they are ready and equipped to do so. If you are one of God’s true watchmen the remnant will know it and they will hear.