- The Rt Revd Wallace Benn
A link in God's gracious chain
Updated: Mar 31, 2022
“I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken…” Acts 2:25
I was going through some old letters and cards which I was given nine years ago when I ‘retired’. They were an encouragement, especially the one which had a Bible marker with the above verse on it. David, says Peter, is talking about Jesus and this was his testimony.
What is it that will keep us going in the long haul of ministry? Many clergy are exhausted with increasing demands made to produce good quality services on line during the pandemic as well as pastoral issues that have been made harder during this time. What is it that will keep us going?
Yes, loving supportive and prayerful friends and a sympathetic congregation are a real help. But when discouragements come what will keep us going? The Lord’s presence with me, and me doing ministry ‘before him’ and to please him is what is the most help to be continually remind of. His sustaining presence is what makes the difference. Paul was of the same opinion- see II Timothy 4:17- and it is in the Lord’s presence and with his help that all ministry of the word must be done (II Tim 4:1). The Saviour who knows our needs, loves us and died for us is worthy of our continuing faithfulness in the tasks he has set us. Mind you, we also need to pace ourselves and not get bogged down in tasks that he has not set us!
There are times when ministry is hard but it is still a privilege and a blessing. We need to take the long view. One of the most encouraging things that my wife and I have experienced recently (just before the pandemic) was to visit a parish that I served in more than 30 years ago. We had not been back since. Though a great congregation in many ways it had not always been easy. What amazed us was the number of people who had been blessed and found the Lord during that time, whom we did not know about. Situations and conversations were hereshared that we had forgotten. Most importantly the Gospel work is going on well.
I share this to remind myself and you that being a link in God’s gracious chain of salvation for individuals is a massive privilege, and we will never see the full results of preaching the Gospel and teaching the Bible till we are surprised in eternity when we meet some people we did not think would be there! We need to take the long view and keep our eyes on the Master and do our work for Him and in His strength. Nothing done for him is ever wasted in his economy and in his providence. So, keep going dear friend! And as you go on make time to be with him, make time for you family, make time for rest and relaxation. But in it all, run the race towards him and for him, “Keeping the Lord always before you”. (Psalm 16:8)