Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to feed the congregation of God, which he has purchased with his own blood. – Acts 20:28
The objective of the Christian ministry is to convert sinners and to edify the body of Christ. No faithful minister can possibly rest short of this. Applause, fame, popularity, honor, and wealth – all these are vain. If souls are not won, and if saints are not matured, our ministry itself is futile.
Questions we have to ask ourselves: Has it been the purpose of my ministry and the desire of my heart to save the lost and guide the saved? Is this my aim in every sermon I preach and in every visit I make? Is it under the influence of this feeling that I continually live and walk and speak? Do I pray and toil and fast and weep for this? Do I spend and am I spent for this, counting it, next to the salvation of my own soul, my greatest joy to be the instrument of saving others? Is it for this that I exist? To accomplish this, would I gladly die? Have I seen the pleasure of the Lord prospering in my hand? Have I seen souls converted under my ministry? Have God’s people found refreshment from my lips and gone on their way rejoicing, or have I seen no fruit of my labors? Am I content to remain fruitless? Am I satisfied to preach without knowing of one saving impression I made or one sinner awakened?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Horatius Bonar was born into a family of several generations of ministers of the gospel. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh and was ordained in 1838. As a young pastor at North Parish, Kelso, he preached in villages and farmhouses, proving himself to be a comforter and guide. In 1843, he joined 450 other pastors to form the Free Church of Scotland after the "Disruption." Horatius Bonar wrote numerous books, tracts, periodicals, and more than 600 hymns. He believed that people needed truth, not opinions; God, not theology; and Christ, not religion. From his first sermon to his last, he ended with "In such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."