I recall two ministers who retired during the same period of time a number of years ago. Both were asked how they wanted to be remembered. One, a prominent pastor, responded that he hoped that people would recall him "as a man faithful to the end and above reproach." The other man, a seminary professor and author, voiced a different possibility. "If remembered, I want people to think of me as a man who had a very gracious, merciful, and patient Savior."
You see the difference. Both men were given opportunities to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. One chose to direct attention to himself and his own faithfulness. The other shined the spotlight on his "gracious, merciful, and patient Savior." I happen to know both of these gentlemen, one personally, and the other through correspondence. I would be less than honest if I didn't confess that their responses were not far from what I might have expected. It is not easy, especially for well known figures, to overcome the temptation of personal promotion. The Satan who originated distraction from God's glory incessantly tempts communicators of God's Word to think too much and too highly of themselves. No less than the Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh "lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations" (II Corinthians 12:7). One must aggressively seek to magnify only the Lord if the temptation is to be overcome. The professor I reference realized this throughout his life and ministry, and acted accordingly and proactively. He determined to use every opportunity to direct his spotlight toward the person and work of the Lord Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah references a time when God will have culminated His earthly purposes and "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:11). This ultimate intention of God must become our immediate focus. We cannot hasten the coming day mentioned by Isaiah. We can, however, be sure that in our lives, the Lord alone is exalted in this day. This especially relates to those called to communicate His truth. We must not waste opportunities to shine our spotlight on the only Subject worthy of the preacher's voice, the teacher's lesson, and the author's pen. We must bear witness to the "gracious, merciful, and patient Savior" every time we attempt communication of God's Christ-centered, Christ-circumferenced, Christ-focused, and Christ-honoring eternal purpose. Moreover, as mentioned yesterday, we must pray for those called to preach, teach, and write that they will not waste their time or ours with anything less than the theme of Christ now, Christ always, Christ forever. I would greatly appreciate prayers in that regard, and I thank you for those already offered, and those to come.
"Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
Weekly Memory Verse
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.