Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yes, I Want To Be A Preacher!

Why? Because, as great and at times seemingly unbearable the burden of preaching is, its bounty is still greater. Listen to the man who knew this probably better than all others:
Those who count preaching and its needful preparations to be slight matters, have never occupied a pulpit continuously month after month, or they would know better. Chief of all is the responsibility which the preaching of the Word involves: I do not wish to feel this less heavily, rather would I feel it more, but it enters largely into the account of a minister's life-work, and tells upon him more than any other part of his mission. Let those preach lightly who dare do so; to me, it is "the burden of the Lord" -- joyfully carried as grace is given; but, still, a burden which at times crushes my whole manhood into the dust of humiliation, and occasionally, when ill-health unites with mental strain, into depression and anguish of heart.

However, let no man mistake me. I would sooner have my work to do than any other under the sun. Preaching Jesus Christ is sweet work, joyful work, Heavenly work. [George] Whitefield used to call his pulpit his throne, and those who know the bliss of forgetting everything beside the glorious, all-absorbing topic of Christ crucified, will bear witness that the term was aptly used. It is a bath in the waters of Paradise to preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven. Scarcely is it possible for a man, this side of the grave, to be nearer Heaven than is a preacher when his Master's presence bears him right away from every care and thought, save the one business in hand, and that the greatest that ever occupied a creature's mind and heart. No tongue can tell the amount of happiness which I have enjoyed in delivering these sermons, and so, gentle reader, forgive me if I have wearied you with this grateful record, for I could not refrain from inviting others to aid me in praising my gracious Master. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name" (Charles Spurgeon Autobiography, Volume 1, p. 403-404).

No, Spurgeon, you have not wearied me in the least. In fact, you have done the opposite. I have tasted that bliss of self-forgetfulness and nearness to Heaven that you and Whitefield knew so well. Thank you for aiding me in praising my gracious Master. And so I say:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name!

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