"I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 6- C. R. Biggs
Pastor (Bishop) J. C. Ryle on Realistic Expectations in the Ministry (from his commentary on Matthew, Banner of Truth Trust).
During my studies this week, I ran across an excellent quotation from the great theologian and preacher J. C. Ryle (19th century). As one of my local DJs used to say: "This goes out to..." Well, this quotation particularly goes out to those who labor as ordained officers in Christ's Church.
I send this particularly as a reminder and encouragement to you men who work hard shepherding and ruling in Christ's Church, those who serve Christ faithfully as elders, and still find yourself dealing with difficult people and their temperaments.
This wisdom from Ryle is something I wished I had been taught very early in my ministry. I send it to you for encouragement.
Hear Ryle (commenting on Matt 10:16-23):
"Those who would do good to souls must be moderate in their expectations. They must not think that universal success will attend their labours; they must reckon on meeting with much opposition. . . .Let us bear this in mind continually. Whether we teach, preach, or visit from house to house - whether we write or give counsel, or whatever we do, let it be a settled principle with us not expect more than Scripture and experience warrant.
Human nature is far more wicked and corrupt than we think: the power of evil is far greater than we suppose. It is vain to imagine that everybody will see what is good for them, and believe what we tell them; it is expecting what we shall not find, and will only end in disappointment. Happy is the labourer for Christ who knows these things at his first starting, and has not to learn them by bitter experience! [mia culpa] Here lies the secret cause why many have turned back, who once seemed full of zeal to do good. They began with extravagant expectations."
No matter what trouble you are facing as elders, never forget the Apostle Paulâ€™s words in 1 Corinthians 15:58:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
ESV 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
ESV 1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
ESV Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Do you believe it?!