Consumed while Illuminating Others
It is impossible to put a price tag on a faithful minister of the gospel. His value is known only to God and because his reward is so great it may ultimately be given and received only in heaven—not on this earth. “When the Chief Shepherd appears,” writes Peter to church shepherds, “you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4). Indeed this same Jesus, who brings the reward with Him, taught His disciples: “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10:39). In his magnum opus, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Dutch Reformer Wilhelmus à Brakel writes of the exalted calling of an expendable life. Here are powerful words to ponder.
Among all callings there is none so holy, excellent, necessary, and profitable as the office of shepherd and teacher in the church. Whomever God calls, qualifies, and renders faithful to be a minister of the New Testament is a marvel in this world. He is an instrument in the hand of God to save lost souls, to gather and edify God’s church, thereby encouraging the church to promote God’s glory upon earth.
An unqualified minister is the most despicable and harmful creature to be found in the world. He is a disgrace to the church, a stumbling block whereby many fall into eternal perdition, and the cause of the damnation of many souls. A faithful servant of Christ, on the contrary, is an ornament in the house of his God, a light upon a candlestick, a city upon a hill, a leader of the blind, a terror to the ungodly, a joy to the godly, a comforter for the sorrowful, a counselor for those who are perplexed, and a guide for believers on the way to heaven. His life generally is of short duration, during which his preaching reached but a few and he himself is consumed while illuminating others. The loss of a minister who is endowed with grace is inestimable.