2002-02-26 - George or Roger
Revelation 14:13 "And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, 'Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.'"
If you read the Bible much you know that we find doctrine and practical instruction in it. But if you really read it you will, I hope, agree with me that much of the Bible is almost like a Christian biography. So I don't think I am out of line to present to you today a short life story of a man of God who labored quietly and without fanfare many years ago. His name was George Roger, and there is, in many respects, little remarkable about him save this: He faithfully served Christ in his sphere of influence. And that, frankly, is sufficiently remarkable enough for me. The book I have been reading was published in 1870 and never republished, so you are not likely to know of George Roger if you don't hear it here.
He was born in 1810, the youngest of seven. He married at age 35. When he was very young his oldest brother, a student for the ministry, and two of his sisters died in the span of only two months. He was pushed toward the ministry by his mother and after taking his first degree, he taught mathematics at the university as he finished his education. He might have stayed there, but after the death of a renowned man of God he felt a strong call to go and work in the vineyard of God.
While a student and teacher he would leave his residence on Saturday afternoon and walk many miles to worship. There were other churches nearer to him, but they did not faithfully preach the Word of God. So he walked, and returned again home on Monday mornings to begin teaching and studying. As a student he wrote two treatises, "Confession of sin to God," and "Self-Dedication to the Lord." The book I have been reading says that they are, "too private and of a sacred manner to quote here."
He was ordained and took a small country church. He was so respected that he held, over his time in this quiet ministry, almost every respected leadership position in his denomination. But he was faithful to his church. He would meet with the members of the congregation regularly in their homes and discuss the practical and personal matters of faith in Christ. The nature of his preaching was said to be, "Soundness, discrimination (not in the manner the term is used today, read "carefulness"), fulness, energy."
He became known in his area of influence as Barnabas, "a true son of consolation." It became known in the area that no one could die without a visit from the minister. Thus was his care for those in his community. Shortly before he died he had an undiagnosed paralysis begin to overtake his body. Soon he could not even talk. Then he entered his eternal rest.
In the overall scheme of history and even the history of the Christian Church, George Roger is fairly irrelevant by the standards we tend to use to judge what matters. My point would be that there is no such thing as an irrelevant servant of Christ. Each and every one of us has our own pockets of influence. We may never go down in history in the manner of being "known," but what we do for Christ is likely to go down in eternity. "Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also" Luke 12:34.
Soli Deo Gloria,