These are the two pictures that hang on the wall in my office.
Both were gifts.
To the right is a page from a very old German Bible. It’s from Jeremiah 38 and has a small illustration of him being thrown down a well. My mate Dan gave it to me as a reminder that sometimes ministry comes with a great cost, but the service is God is worth it, and the rewards are far greater than the costs!
The second picture was a gift from my lovely wife. It’s a caricature of Charles Spurgeon. He was known as the “Prince of Preachers.” In the 1850’s he regularly preached to congregations of 10,000 or more, and his sermons were so good, that they were printed after he gave them and you could buy them in the street in little booklets. Yet Spurgeon himself was no stranger to pain. Spurgeon, despite his prodigious talent and enormous success, struggled with illness and depression for much of his life. Additionally, during a service in 1856, someone yelled “fire” causing a panic, a stampede, and the death of several people by trampling. Spurgeon was shattered by this and it remained with him for the rest of his life.
Spurgeon is a reminder to me that no minister, even the famous ones, has an easy ministry. That there are costs and there will be troubles. Yet, Spurgeon, like Jeremiah, knew that his strength lay not in his resolve, in his talent, in his charisma, or anything else, but the fact that God would give him the strength he needed for the task he had been set.
My life in ministry is never quite straightforward either. There can be frustrations and failures that poke their heads up amongst the victories and joys. It helps to know that this is a story that has been told in the lives of every Christian. And whatever God has in store for me in the rest of my days here on earth, I know that my final destination is the same as these two great men.
Today they encourage me on my study wall. One day they’ll encourage me face to face as we sing God’s praises in heaven!