2002-01-29 - Minister and People
1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
I don't know if any of you have ever heard of Alexander Henderson before, but if you have not, you will today. He was fairly small in stature. He had no desire to be the leader of the Church in Scotland, but when he was needed, he rose to the occasion. He had been teaching Philosophy at St. Andrews University for a while when he was given a call to take a position as a pastor in a small country parish in Scotland. When he arrived in 1612 to take his position he realized just how much the people of the parish did not want him as their pastor -- they had nailed the door shut so he could not get in. This was before congregations had a say in who their pastor was and so he did take the position and studied, laboring quietly in obscurity for over 25 years.
No one would probably ever have known his name and he seems to have preferred the quiet life he had, but in 1638, a crisis in the Church of Scotland arose and this quiet minister stepped in to labor publicly for the Church of Scotland. For the next eight years until he died, he did more for the Church of Scotland and the cause of the church universal then anyone else who lived during that time. As I said above he was a calm and quiet man who really did not want the spotlight, but when it was thrust upon him, his years of quite study in a small parish had prepared him well for the task. On his death bed he compared his longing to leave this world to a school boy longing for vacation. He said, "Never schoolboy more longed for the breaking-up, than I do to have leave of this world."
I wrote the above for a simple reason. His parish church did not want him, but he remained faithful. My question to you is, "How do you feel about your minister?" Do you think the people of his parish in Lauchars thought they had as their pastor the man who the Lord would soon use to protect and save the Church of Scotland from the tyranny of state control? Of course they did not. But for over 25 years he was among them until the Lord called him to a very public service. They, and probably he also, were blind to what the Lord was doing, but that mattered not because God's preparation was for a purpose. Now I ask you, "Could your minister be being prepared right now for a larger service that might never have entered into anyone's mind?" The answer is that it is possible. We do not know what the plans of the Lord are.
There are a great many reasons to respect your minister. Henderson lived, until he was over 50 years of age, a quiet life. Your very minister could be the next Alexander Henderson that God could be setting aside for a special service in 1, 6, 22, or any amount of years in the future. This is a great reason to encourage our ministers and show them respect for the labor they make on our behalf.
"Congregations never honour God more than when they reverently listen to his Word, intending not just to hear but to obey in response to what he has done, is doing and will do for them." Geoff Thomas
Soli Deo Gloria,