Are You Frustrated with Your Local Church?

If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

This applies in a special way to the complaints often heard from pastors and zealous members about their congregations. A pastor should never complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.

. . . Let [the pastor or zealous member] nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God. Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief. Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren. Let him do what he is committed to do, and thank God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein, (New York: HarperOne, 1954), 29.

HT: desiringgod.com

Remembering That Minister Means Nothing but Servant

The minister must always remember that the dignity of his office adheres not in his person but in his office itself. He is not at all important, but his office is extremely important. Therefore he should take his work most seriously without taking himself seriously. He should preach the Word in season and out of season in forgetfulness of self. He should ever have an eye single to the glory of Christ, whom he preaches, and count himself out. It should be his constant aim that Christ, whom he represents, may increase while he himself decreases. Remembering that minister means nothing but servant, he should humbly, yet passionately, serve the Lord Christ and His church.

R.B. Kuiper, The Glorious Body of Christ (Banner of Truth, 1966), 140-42.

We Pray Because God Is God

Prayer to God presupposes the fact of God as a hearer and answerer of prayer, in such relations with or in such attitude toward the one who prays, as to justify the privilege of prayer. One would have little encouragement to make a personal request of God, unless he felt that God would be entreated by him as a petitioner. Hence prayer, as mere supplication or intercession, involves an understood relation between him who prays and Him who is prayed to, that carries with it well-known privileges and duties. A man cannot even ask help of God unless he has hope that God will hear and heed him because God is God, and because the petitioner stands as he stands before God; for a cry of despair is not in the spirit of prayer.

H. Clay Trumbull, Prayer: Its Nature and Scope