Posted by: Andrew Webb | July 27, 2008

What Is Our Real Aim in Preaching?

Every minister must examine his motives for preaching the gospel in light of the final judgment as this anecdote from John Whitecross reminds us:

“A minister, in the early part of the 17th century was preaching before an assembly of his brethren; and in order to direct their attention to the great motive from which they should act, he represented to them something of the great day of judgment. Having spoken of Christ as seated on His throne, he described Him as speaking to His ministers; examining how they had preached, and with what views they had undertaken and discharged the duties of the ministry. ‘What did you preach for?’ ‘I preached, Lord, that I might keep a good living that was left me by my father; which, if I had not entered the ministry, would have been wholly lost to me and my family.’ Christ addresses him, ‘Stand by, thou hast had thy reward.’ The question is put to another, ‘And what did you preach for?’ ‘Lord, I was applauded as a learned man, and I preached to keep up the reputation of an excellent orator, and an ingenious preacher.’ The answer of Christ to him also is, ‘Stand by, thou hast had thy reward.’ The Judge puts the question to a third. ‘And what did you preach for?’ ‘Lord,’ saith he, ‘I neither aimed at the great things of this world, though I was thankful for the conveniences of life which Thou gavest me; nor did I preach that I might gain the character of a wit, or of a man of parts, or of a fine scholar; but I preached in compassion to souls, and to please and honour Thee; my design, Lord, in preaching, was that I might win souls to Thy blessed Majesty.’ The Judge was now described as calling out, ‘Room, men; room, angels! let this man come and sit with me on my throne; he has owned and honoured me on earth, and I will own and honour him through all the ages of eternity.’ The ministers went home much affected; resolving, that through the help of God, they would attend more diligently to the motives and work of the ministry than they had before done.”

- John Whitecross, The Shorter Catechism Illustrated

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Responses

  1. I’m in it for the money and inordinate power! Oooooo, yeah! :p

    Good post. That is a convicting piece.

  2. I’m in it to wear the robe! :)

    Yes, a great piece.

  3. [...] You can read the balance of Whitecross’s anecdote here. [...]

  4. I’m in it for the collar and the robe!!! :)

    Excellent post…


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