In an interview, Pastor Mark Dever was asked this question: “What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your (pastoral) leadership?” His answer has provided me with one of the most needed and sobering truths I have ever heard.
John Brown in a letter of counsel to one of his pupils newly ordained over a small congregation:
“I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brothers around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.”
Pastors, may our goal never be to pastor a large congregation, but to faithfully pastor whatever congregation we are sent to. May the shepherd’s eye not be on having a big flock, but to faithfully give himself to the flock he’s been entrusted. The sheep we have been entrusted have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, handle with care and dare not neglect them in hope for bigger ministry.
But wait, there’s more…
This principle is not only applicable to pastors, but also, in a very significant way, to all Christians. All of us will stand before Christ to give an account for the things He has entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30). Fathers and mothers will give account for the children entrusted to them to raise. Employees will give account to Christ for the work they did in their lives. All things have been given to us from Christ and we will give our account to Christ for how we used those things in His service. How we use our resources, how we love our neighbors, how we shepherd our families, we will answer for all of it. Therefore, the goal of all Christians should not be to covet larger ministry, influence, etc., but to faithfully serve where we have been placed. However small we may think our responsibilities are today, I am sure that we will not see them as such when we answer to our Lord for how we fulfilled them.
May we never make it our aim to have larger, bigger and better ministries/influence. Fathers and mothers, don’t despise the family ministry you are called to. Employees, don’t grumble about the little you do from 9-5. Christians, don’t despise the small field you are responsible for. But may we all put our hand to faithfully work the field that God has given us; no matter how small it is. Let us all consider the word of this old man.