Therefore, my brothers dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.…
A minister has many discouragements, disappointments and pains, as had Paul, but taking his work as a whole there is no profession that will bear comparison with it in bringing peace and joy. There is —
I. THE JOY OF INTERESTING WORK.
1. His studies are interesting — his books and the literature of human life.
2. So is his practical work. His heart and hand are ever appealed to for sympathy and help. There are the bereaved to be comforted, fallen to be uplifted, young to be counselled, and a thousand charities to be practised in the name of Christ. A man entering the ministry with the right spirit will find perpetual exhilaration in the work. To enter the harvest field where the grain is ripe, and the sheaves are coming towards the garner — that is life for the body, inspiration for the mind, rapture for the soul; and if there is an occupation that yields such mighty satisfaction in all the world I have never heard of it.
II. THE JOY OF ELEVATED ASSOCIATIONS. If a man be tolerably acceptable in his work, the refinements of society open before him. He is invited into the conclave of poets anal artists; he is surrounded by kindly influences; society breathes upon him its most elevating advantages. Men in other occupations must depend on their wealth and achievements to obtain such position. By reason of the respect of men for the Christian minister, all these spheres open before him. In addition to that, and more than that, his constant associates are the princes of God and the heirs of heaven.
III. THE JOY OF SEEING SOULS CONVERTED. To go from the house of God some Sabbath and feel that the sermon has fallen dead, and to be told the next day by some man, "That sermon was the redemption of my soul." I went home one Sabbath almost resolved never to preach again; the gospel seemed to have no effect; but before one week had passed I found that five souls, through the instrumentality of that poor sermon, had pressed into the kingdom of God. It is a joy like that of the angels of God over a repentant sinner to see men turning their backs on the world to follow Christ.
IV. THE JOY OF COMFORT BEARING. To see the wounds healing; to see Christ come to the prow of the vessel and silence the Euroelydon; to see a soul rise up strengthened and comforted; to look over an audience, one-half of them in the habiliments of mourning, and yet feel that there is power in that gospel to silence every grief and soothe every wound of the soul — ah! to tell the broken hearted people of the congregation that God pities, that God feels, that God loves, that God sympathizes — that is the joy of the Christian ministry!
V. THE JOY OF THE CHURCH'S SYMPATHY. If the minister of Christ has been at all faithful in his work, he knows that there are those who are willing to sympathize in his every sorrow and in every success. He knows that he has their prayers and good wishes. If he be sick, he knows they are praying for his recovery. If dark shadows hover over his household, he knows there are those who are praying that those shadows may be lifted.
(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.