The Christian Minister by William Carey

This coming Sunday, I will be preaching on a difficult passage from Matthew 10 dealing with being persecuted, hated, and some even killed because of Jesus.  This is hard for several reasons, not the least of which is that we are living in a country where real persecution, hatred, and martyrdom is seldom if ever found.  Additionally, it is tempting to read such passages of Scripture and not feel the weight of what Jesus is saying.  The “hard” passages are not hard because we have so easily dismissed them and made ourselves the exception to what Christ tells us all who follow Him are expected to experience.  Finally, I believe there is has been a wrongful separation of mission from discipleship so that one can be a listener or learner of Christ without be a laborer in the harvest fields or lead in the mission.

In any case, I think William Carey rightly understood the expectations all believers should have when on mission to make Christ known.  Consider these words, which I believe are consistent with the sending of Christ and rather inconsistent with the status-quo that both he faced then and we face today, and may our lives be wrecked by the realities of missional life in the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.

“A Christian minister is a person who in a peculiar sense is ‘not his own’ (1 Cor. 6:19); he is the ‘servant’ of God, and therefore ought to be wholly devoted to him.  By entering on that sacred office he solemnly undertakes to be always engaged, as much as possible, in the Lord’s work, and not to choose his own pleasure, or employment, or pursue the ministry as something that is to subserve his own ends, or interests, or as a kind of bye-work.

He engages to go where God pleases, and to do, or endure what he sees fit to command, or call him to, in the exercise of his function.  He virtually bids farewell to his friends, pleasures, and comforts, and stands in readiness to endure the greatest sufferings in the work of his Lord, and Master.

It is inconsistent for ministers to please themselves with thoughts of a numerous auditory, cordial friends, a civilized country, legal protection, affluence, splendour, or even a competency.  The slights, and hatred of men, and even pretended friends, gloomy prisons, and tortures, the society of barbarians of uncouth speech, miserable accommodations in wretched wildernesses, hunger, and thirst, nakedness, weariness, and painfulness, hard word, and but little worldly encouragement, should be the objects of their expectation.” (emphasis mine)

– William Carey, An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use the Means for the Conversion of the Heathens

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4 Comments on “The Christian Minister by William Carey”

  1. tom ascol Says:

    Great quote! Sometimes I think that we moderns would be regarded largely as a bunch of wimps by those who have gone before us in the ministry of the Gospel. Carey’s words are a helpful challenge for me.

  2. Are we not all called to be ministers, in one sense? Would Carey’s words not then apply to all of us, and not simply to pastors or those in “full-time” ministry?

  3. sir, am not commenting anything for now, but am asking if i can be a member of the Christian Minister,thanks.

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