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The following words were spoken of Rev. W.H. Burns at his funeral in 1859. They arose from a very different setting than ours and a profoundly different time than the one in which we live. They hold forth a profoundly different kind of pastoral ministry than is lauded in our day. But I can’t help wondering if there isn’t a lament here that we need to take up in our day as we look at what much of pastoral ministry, in city or the country, has become in 21st North America.
“He was . . . a peculiarly attractive representative of a type of the Christian pastorate which is, I suspect, rapidly becoming obsolete,–that of the quiet, steady, ongoing, conscientiously diligent and calmly earnest country minister, at once the father, the counsellor, and the friend of every man, woman, and child within his parochial bounds,–which is giving place to the more impetuous and stirring, though in some respects also, perhaps, more one-sided energy of modern times.” (p.184, The Pastor of Kilsyth)
The pursuit of preaching is not preaching. That is idolatry.
The pursuit of preaching is not response or results. That is not only idolatry, but a fool’s errand.
Faithfulness? Yes, but not quite.
Anointing? Yes, but not quite.
The pursuit of preaching is God.
When God is our pursuit in preaching, He will see that we have whom we seek.
Only then will we be in a position for Him to give Himself through us.
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)
“Every word of God . . . Do not add to his words.” All and only.
Do not doubt, neglect, or fail to believe any word of God. “Every word of God proves true.” “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45). “. . . not one word has failed . . . all have come to pass . . . all have been fulfilled for you” (Joshua 23:14-15). “Every word”!
But only God’s word: “Do not add to his words.” Do not canonize your own thoughts. His words—not my thoughts about His words, not my logical deductions about His words, not my applications of His words.
His words – all and only.
His word “proves true.” My words may be “found a liar.” Note the two outcomes: “proves” and “found.” Words are not idle things. Words have consequences. Words determine destinies.
Let God’s word stand. Let my words bow to His.