2 Timothy 4:3
The time is coming, you see, when people won’t tolerate healthy teaching. Their ears will start to itch, and they will collect for themselves teachers who will tell them what they want to hear.
It’s interesting to me, as I’ve studied this verse, that it’s not just the obvious “I don’t want to feel conviction, tell me what is pleasant” going on here. Though that is definitely a factor.
The other element is boredom.
There is this underlying boredom, apathy, annoyance.
People were becoming bored with hearing the truth, with hearing healthy teaching, or sound doctrine, as some translations put it.
How do people tire of hearing the deep truth of the gospel? How does one become bored with the incompressible depth and beauty of the incarnation, cross, and resurrection??
By desiring to have your ears tickled—craving something “new”. By developing an insatiable appetite for the novel. To have your ears tickled, as some Bibles have it, is to desire to hear only what one enjoys, instead of desiring to hear the truth, whether enjoyable or not.
We must be so careful of this, and keep ourselves in check.
Do you want to hear from God at the Sunday service? Or do you want to hear a great, interesting sermon with fun stories? We’re not saying they’re mutually exclusive, but what do you crave?
I remember years ago when I first started hearing people say things like, “You should come to our church, the pastor is really funny and tells such good stories.”
Uhhhh, that’s ok, I can buy tickets for when I want that sort of thing. Last time I checked, preaching and teaching was to hear from God.