For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:5

Charles Spurgeon is quoted as having said, “I always say to young fellows who consult me about the ministry, “Don’t be a minister if you can help it,” because if the man can help it, God never called him. But if he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.”

Timothy Sporrong, in an address at a conference to a seminary class, similarly said this, “Many of you are here this weekend because you are coming to the conclusion or at least considering the possibility that God is calling you to ministry. … Some of you, in fact, may be right on the edge, ready to take the plunge into pastoral ministry. To you I have one thing to say. I think you are making a big mistake! Because this job is a killer. I’m not being facetious. Nor do I intend to play with or manipulate you. I mean it in all sincerity. This job is a killer. And if you seek to enter the ministry, you are making a big mistake. Unless — unless — you are willing to die! … You die a little bit every day in this vocation. When your people are hurting and you cannot stop it, when they ask why and you have no answer — you die a little bit.”

He goes on to recount multiple painful experiences throughout his pastoral ministry – in which he dies daily. And then he says, you must wonder why I am a preacher? “I’ll tell you why. Because I would do nothing else. Because I love it. Because when Christ calls us, he bids us come and die. Because our Lord is right, it is in losing our lives for him and the gospel that we find and save them. … Because, though we are afflicted and perplexed, persecuted and struck down, we are not forsaken or destroyed. Because what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

Would you join me, not only on this Pastors Appreciation Day, but throughout the year, in thanking God for our faithful Pastor Jacques, who dies a little each day, as he continues to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, and himself as our servant for Jesus’ sake!