In “The Gift of a Voice” I challenged you to invite a prophet over for dinner. Well, since then I have gotten a few questions on how do I know which one to invite? My first response was, “it doesn’t matter who, just any prophet. You’ll have fun.”
Well, I need to repent of that comment. There is a standard for the invitation list. Let me give you a few guidelines. Consider it as a new entry in Emily Post’s Etiquette book.
First, there are three types of prophets. Actually, these types apply to all of the 5-fold gifts (Ephesians 4:11). But pastors always get asked out to dinner so we are just going to talk about prophets.
There is the true prophet. There is the foolish prophet. There is the false prophet.
You definitely want to have over the true prophet. This equals maximum blessing. But don’t ask them to say the blessing over the food because it will turn into a 2 hour intercession meeting.
You want to invite over the foolish prophet too. But just remember, it’s more for them than you. They need somebody to practice on.
You definitely don’t want to invite a false prophet. They always give you heart burn later. Matter of fact, you will probably have stomach problems for the next few days. False prophets are definitely not on the invitation list.
So how do you know who is what? Well, in all honesty, I have to admit it is more art than science. But here is a few things to look for.
True prophets. These are mature people who truly exhibit the nature of God. They are definitely not perfect but their character and fruit have been proven over time. The Bible is full of them with names like Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John. They voice does not come from their own thoughts or the body language you are giving off.
Foolish prophets. These are young, immature prophets that have not been proven over time (Ezekial 13:3).They are young in their gift. You can consider them in training.
They are not bad dinner guests, they just haven’t finished prophet school yet. You can always tell a young prophet because they act like they are a full fledged member of the Prophet Association. But don’t believe it. They only have a student ID card from the local School of Prophets. When they start talking about their credentials that is a sure fire way of knowing that they are young. When this happens just smile over your plate of chicken at them and say, “that is nice. Would you like some more tea?” Then proceed to weigh carefully everything else they say. Most of it is going to be their voice and not The Voice.
But definitely have them over for dinner. Especially, if you are a good counselor. For a young prophet to become mature he needs someone to help him deal with their wounds, personal issues, or probably pride because they know how good the gift is in them.
False prophets. These are former foolish prophets that would not let God develop His voice in them. Simply, they refused to give up their voice.
How can you tell? When you are around a false prophet you are more enamored with them than what God is doing. False prophets like to bring attention to themselves. Especially by ‘doing’ spiritual things. It’s not that you don’t respect 5-fold gifts, but a false prophet will end up bringing more attention to themselves than to Jesus. At their core it’s about their position in the kingdom. That is why they never graduate from the School of the Prophets.
They have a hard time working with a team unless they are the lead. Will they listen to the others on the team? Especially the ones who are senior to them? If not, save your dinner invitation for your pastor.
Well, enough of that. Get back to your dinner menu. Remember, that New Testament prophets can eat pork. But one word of caution, the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:1) ate a scroll. So don’t leave any of your nice Bibles around when they come over. I lost my favorite pocket edition at a Christmas dinner one year.