Just started rereading Knowing God by J. I. Packer; one of the very few books I read again.
And again struck by a quote from C. S. Lewis that Packer included in his original preface (1972).
It is a sober and sobering reminder:
“Those like myself, whose imagination far exceeds their obedience are subject to a just penalty; we easily imagine conditions far higher than any we have really reached. If we describe what we have imagined we may make others, and make ourselves, believe that we have really been there.” (The Four Loves
>Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. –1 Thessalonians 5:14
Because we are the kind of persons we are and because we live in a world such as we do, the shepherd of souls is often forced to work at what would appear to be cross purposes with himself.
For instance, he must encourage the timid and warn the self- confident; and these may at any given time be present in his congregation in almost equal numbers….
Another problem he faces is the presence in the normal Christian assembly of believers in every stage of development, from the newly converted who knows almost nothing about the Christian life to the wise and experienced Christian who seems to know almost everything.
Again, the Christian minister must have a word from God for the teen-aged, the middle-aged and the very aged. He must speak to the scholar as well as to the ignorant; he must bring the living Word to the cultured man and woman and to the vulgarian who reads nothing but the sports page and the comic strip. He must speak to the sad and to the happy, to the tender-minded and to the tough- minded, to those eager to live and to some who secretly wish they could die. And he must do this all in one sermon and in a period of time not exceeding 45 minutes. Surely this requires a Daniel, and Daniels are as scarce in the United States today as in Babylon in 600 B.C. The Set of the Sail, 82-83.
“That’s an impossible task, Lord! I again confess myself totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Enable, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.” http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1600661203&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
A. W. Tozer
“A preaching ministry is absolutely essential to the health and prosperity of a visible church. The pulpit is the place where the chief victories of the Gospel have always been won, and no Church has ever done much for the advancement of true religion in which the pulpit has been neglected. Would we know whether a minister is a truly apostolical man?
“If he is, he will give the best of his attention to his sermons. He will labor and pray to make his preaching effective, and he will tell his congregation that he looks to preaching for the chief results on souls.
“The minister who exalts the sacraments, or forms of the Church, above preaching, may be a zealous, earnest, conscientious, and respectable minister; but his zeal is not according to knowledge. He is not a follower of the apostles.”
~ J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)