My conviction is that the pastor must refuse to be shaped by the culture, whether secular or ecclesiastical, and insist on becoming a person of prayer in the community of worship. This is our assigned task; anything less or other is malpractice.
If we will acknowledge the ministry a particular office in the church of Christ … then we must also confess it is not anyone’s work, though never so able, except called to the office….
Those that are not sent and commissionated by God’s call for ministerial work, they may speak truths as well as they that are, yet of him that acts by virtue of his calling, we may say that he preacheth with authority, and not like those that can show no commission, but what the opinion themselves have of their own abilities give them.
– William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, p. 285
His attention focussed on the higher spheres of contemplative activity, he is initiated into the hidden mysteries of God, and through his words of wisdom he lovingly ministers to those who are capable of learning about these things. In this way he does not use his talent solely for his own benefit, but also shares its benediction with his fellow-men.
But our faith makes us abundant in good works. May I say to you, if you are doing all you possibly can for Christ, endeavour to do yet more? I believe a Christian man is generally right when he is doing more than he can; and when he goes still further beyond that point, he will be even more nearly right. There are scarcely any bounds to the possibilities of our service. Many a man, who now is doing little, might, with the same exertion, do twice as much by wise arrangement and courageous enterprise.
And as many reserve the dregs of their lives, their old age, to offer up their souls to God, so they reserve the dregs of the day, their sleeping time, for the offering up their service to him. How many grudge to spend their best time in the serving the will of God, and reserve for him the sickly and rheumatic part of their lives; the remainder of that which the devil and their own lusts have fed upon… When by age men are weary of their own bodies, they would present them to God; yet grudgingly, as if a tired body were too good for him, snuffing at the command for service. God calls for our best, and we give him the worst (italics added).
-Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God (vol. 1), p. 113-14
(Preached the essence of the following at Northside Baptist Church, Bacolod City last April 19, 2009, then again on April 26, 2009 in the evening at Massebah Christian Church, Bacolod City)
MY TIME HAS NOT YET COME
(Reflections on The Silent Years)
– based on Mark 1:1
No doubt God wants us to be fruitful (Heb. 6:7, 8; Isa. 5:1-3), but the way we go about being fruitful might not be in line with his will.
Being busy, even in ministry-related work, is not necessarily a sign of spirituality. Busyness does not automatically translate to spiritual fruitfulness. On the contrary, it can lead to burn-out. One can be so busy for the kingdom that he or she no longer has time for the king (see Luke 10:38-42). Continue reading “My Time Has Not Yet Come”
My friend, Edmuneil Mamon, the Baptist Missionary Association of the Philippines (BMAP) Filipino missionary to Cambodia is back in Bacolod with his family for vacation. Click on the link to know more about his ministy HERE.
There is always the danger, after preaching well, of being too pleased with ourselves, especially when people tell you after the sermon how good your preaching was. The following words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne remind us of the danger of pride in the ministry and its consequences:
“Now, the Lord be your strength, teacher and guide. I charge you, be clothed with humility, or you will yet be a wandering star, for which is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Let Christ increase; let man decrease… If you lead sinners to yourself, and not Christ, Immanuel will cast the star out of his right hand into utter darkness.” (Andrew Bonar’s The Life of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 reprint, p. 152-153)
Here then is what we should pray for if we are to be kept back from pride in the ministry:
“Now, remember Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone. Looking at our own shining face is the bane of the spiritual life and of the ministry. O for closest communion with God, till soul and body – head, face, and heart – shine with divine brilliance; but O for a holy ignorance of our shining. Pray for this; for you need it as well as I.” (ibid, p. 153; emphasis added)