I SOMETIMES IMAGINE THAT I COULD MAKE A PERFECT MINISTER!
from the Letters of John Newton
In the measure of their ministerial abilities, and in the peculiar turn of their preaching, there is a great variety: some are best in alarming the careless; others are best in administering consolation to the wounded conscience; some are best for the establishment and confirmation of the Gospel doctrines; others are skillful in enforcing practical godliness; and others again, having been led through depths of temptation and spiritual distress, are best acquainted with the various workings of the heart, and know best how to speak a word in season to weary and exercised souls.
In my mind, I sometimes imagine that I could make a perfect minister. I would take . . .
the eloquence of Mr. A,
the knowledge of Mr. B,
the zeal of Mr. C, and
the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of Mr. D.
Then, putting them all together into one man, I say to myself, “This would be a perfect minister!”
Now there is One, who, if He chose it, could actually do this–but He never did. He has seen fit to do otherwise.
The servants of Christ all preach the same truths; but the Holy Spirit, who furnishes them all for the work He appoints them to, distributes gifts to each one individually, according to His own will.
“There is not a greater, or more pleasant variety of qualities, smells, and colours, among the herbs and flowers with which the earth is variegated and decked for the delight and service of men–than there is in the gifts and abilities of ministers for the use and service of the church.” – John Flavel
“One minister can wield the sledge hammer–but could not heal a broken heart. If he were to attempt it, you would be reminded of an elephant trying to thread a needle. Such a man can reprove–but he cannot apply oil and wine to a bruised conscience. Why? Because God has not given to him the gift.” – Charles Spurgeon
“There are some Boanerges, sons of thunder–alarming and thundering preachers. And others are Barnabases, sons of consolation – sweetly comforting preachers.” – James Durham