1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Faithfulness in Ministry

From John Angell James, “Christian Love” (1828)

Oh! what churches we would have, if Christian love had its full scope! The PASTOR would labor with the most earnest, indefatigable, and unselfish zeal for the eternal welfare of the flock; and make it evident that compassion for souls, and not filthy lucre, was the impulse of all his conduct. Affection would beam in his eyes, and breathe in his spirit, while “the law of kindness” would dwell on his lips. He would preside over the people in the meekness of wisdom; and, instead of proudly lording it over God’s heritage, he would rule them in love. He would be gentle among them, “as a mother feeding and caring for her own children.” Instead of being provoked by any little unintentional infringement on his rights, or disrespect to his dignity, he would bear with that which is the result of ignorance, and wisely and meekly reason with those who wronged him. Over all his talents, however brilliant, he would put the ‘garment of humility‘. And, with respect to all his success, however great, he would speak in the language of modesty. He would neither envy his more gifted or successful brethren, nor proudly vaunt over his inferiors. To all under his pastoral care, even the most illiterate and poor, he would conduct himself with the humility and love of true benevolence, put the most favorable construction on the actions of his people, repose in them an honorable confidence, labor to correct their errors, whether doctrinal or practical, and have no greater joy than to see them walking in the truth!

Christian love would also dictate to the PEOPLE towards their minister, a line of conduct no less pious than amiable. It would lead them to attach themselves decidedly and warmly to his person and ministry; to demonstrate in every possible way their sincere and cordial wish to promote his comfort; to abstain from everything that would grieve his mind, and by every means in their power to promote his usefulness. It would not allow them to be offended by his faithful rebukes—but cause them to submit, with Christian frankness and humility, to his cautious admonitions and reproofs. Christian love would lead them to interpret, in a favorable manner, any little neglects, or unintentional offenses—and would make willing and reasonable excuses for his seeming inattention. Christian love would cover, and not expose—his minor shortcomings, faults and foibles. Christian love would lead them to manifest a fitting respect for his office and opinion—and, while it would leave them in full possession of entire freedom of thought, and manly dignity of conduct, would still prescribe that humility and respect, which the Scriptures claim for those who are set over them in the Lord.

2 thoughts on “1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Faithfulness in Ministry

  1. Where are the godly and truely reverend Christian ministers and pastors that come up to the scriptural standards exemplified in early American history! Show me pastors of those standards instead of today’s worldly but “reformed” pastors and I will eagerly, willingly encourage, pray for, and listen at their proverbial feet, and give generously to support them in their ministry (not believing that we are bound to tithe to unqualified ministers). This is not harsh, this is a righteous standard. I noticed the post emphasized the PEOPLE so I am saying where are the godly PASTORS?
    This is what is wrong with modern Christianity, and especially modern Reformed Baptist churches. The standard is not met in 2 Tim. 3 which requires not only an imitation of Paul’s Doctrine, but his Manners and Practice. That is why there is a lack of reverence and fear of God….when the service is over, off comes the temporary reverence, piety, doctrinal standards and a return to loose worldliness, with pastors leading by their example.
    We need a revival and it must begin with godly, zealous, inflamed ministers who not only preach but act godly and in the fear of the Lord. Paul said, “knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men”, but I scarcely can find any pastor in America that has any fear of the Lord exemplified in their demeanor, dress, personal standards, family and children…because American worldliness has infiltrated the church except for a Sunday show. Oh, God of heaven, have mercy in the midst of wrath, save us from this untoward generation!

  2. Dear William, While I agree with some of what you have observed here, I think it’s unfair to say that the emphasis of this post lies on the flock. If you read the post again, you will find that before calling on the people’s responsibility toward their pastor, that it first deals with the responsibility of pastors toward their flocks.

    That said, let me also say that no matter what you or others might think, you will never understand the work and burden of pastoral ministry. Only a pastor can know of the responsibility we bear to one day give account for the souls of our flock. I suggest less criticism and greater support on your part. While it is true that we owe no allegiance to false shepherds or hirelings, I would suggest that, if you are not already, you get in a local church under a man who is doing the work of the ministry. Although he be imperfect, he needs your prayers, support, and love. And by the way, you need his oversight to keep your own pride in check (don’t take it personally, we all do!).

    Here is an excellent message on the subject of a flock’s responsibility toward their pastor.

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