Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Stubble of Amusing Our Own Minds

One of the areas that I am weakest in pastoral ministry is in the category of personal visitation.  Lot’s of underlying (some personality, some idolatrous) reasons for that.  I like studying, writing, preparing sermons, preaching, and benefiting the church in those regards.  I ought not neglect these.  But God used the words of Phillip Doddridge today to convict my soul.  I share them for your benefit.  Here is responding to the pastor who gives study as his reason for personal visitation.

I must say that I fear many things, which employ a very large portion of our retired time, are studied as rather polite amusements to our own minds than as things which seem to have any apparent subservience to the glory of God and the edification of our flock.  Consequently, I fear, they will stand as articles of abatement, if I may so express it, in our final account; and, when they come to be made manifest, they will be found works that shall be burned, as being no better, in the divine esteem, than wood, hay, and stubble, however beautifully they may have been varnished or gilded over.  (The Christian Pastors Manual, 12)

Looks like it would do me well to consider how I spend my time and attempt to determine how much of what I do will be burned up on the last day. 

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