What Should Motivate a Minister

The love of Christ ought to so predominate, so to possess his mind, and to bear him along, that every interfering, or opposing principle, should be neutralized or extinguished. This should suggest all his plans, guide all his operations, give energy to all his efforts, and afford him comfort under all his trials. Constrained by the love of Christ, he should cheerfully forgo all the comforts of ease, affluence, and worldly honor, to serve his Master in places far remote; or far removed from public observation. This holy affection should impel him to undertake the most arduous duties and encounter the most formidable dangers; this should enkindle the ardor of his eloquence, and supply the pathos of his most tender addresses. This is the hallowed fire which should be kept bright and burning continually. All other warmth is no better than ‘strange fire’. Nothing but the love of Christ can make a truly faithful pastor, or evangelist, assiduous in all his services, and indefatigable in the most private and self-denying duties of his office. Other motives may lead a man to great diligence in preparing for his labors in the pulpit, where splendid eloquence wins as much applause as anywhere else. Other motives also may stimulate a minister to great public exertion, and give him all the appearance of fervent zeal and devotedness to God, in the eyes of men; but if supreme love to Christ be wanting, he is, after all, nothing; or, at best, a mere ‘sounding brass or tinkling cymbal’. Genius, learning, eloquence, zeal, public exertion, and great sacrifices, even if it should be of all our goods, and of our lives themselves, will be accounted of no value, in the eyes of the Lord, if love to Christ be wanting.

– Archibald Alexander, The Pastor Office, quoted in Princeton and Preaching, pp. 126-27.

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