Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
John Brown on the trials of the ministry
Note: Below is one of the points of application from my sermon on Galatians 4:12-20.
"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16)
Application: This passage reminds ministers, and all those
engaged in personal ministry as well, that the exercise of the ministry is very
often painful and discouraging.
in his 1853 commentary on Galatians zeroes in on this application:
The Christian ministry, if entered on with appropriate
sentiments, and prosecuted with conscientious fidelity, will be found replete
with difficulties.Its toils are arduous
and unceasing—its trials numerous and severe.
to labors often ill-appreciated, sometimes unkindly requited,
and with meeting trials and afflictions which are the more severe as
comingfrom a quarter from which nothing
but support and encouragement has been expected.
It is not an impossible, nor even an uncommon, thing for
persons who seemed to be—who were—most tenderly attached to their ministers,
and attached to him in consequence of having received from him spiritual
advantage, to have their affections entirely alienated from him whom they so
greatly esteemed and loved; and what is worse still, it is not impossible, nor
very uncommon, to find this alienation of affection to their minister arising
out of , or at any rate connected with, indifference about, or rejection of,
those grand peculiarities of Christian truths….
This is one of the severest trials which a Christian minister
can meet with; and perhaps there are few situations in which he is so strongly
tempted to indulge something like a resentful, almost a malignant feeling, as
when thus situated, in reference to those designing men, whose selfish
intrigues have been the means of injuring the best interests of his people, and
robbing him of the dearest jewel of his heart.It is comparatively an easy thing for a minister to be reproached, and
ridiculed, and persecuted by an ungodly world; but he only knows who has felt
it how bitter it is to see those whose conversion and spiritual improvement he
flattered himself he had been the instrument, to guide whom to heaven he felt
to be his most delightful work on earth, and to meet with whom in heaven who
was not of the least delightful anticipations of eternity—to see them regard
him with “hard unkindness, altered eye,” especially if, when they are turning
their backs on him, they also seem in extreme hazard of making shipwreck of
faith and of a good conscience.
In the end, Brown
suggests that Paul in his interaction with the Galatians is a model of how the minister is to deal with such
circumstances with discretion, patience, and affection.Can we learn to do the same?