At the beginning of his volume The Hardest Sermons You’ll Ever Have to Preach, Bryan Chappell writes what is given below. It is a helpful reminder to the pastor that service of God, while difficult and oftentimes unrewarding, does not go unnoticed by God. A word of encouragement:
I have had the privilege of teaching
and encouraging for more than three decades.
By your lives and ministries
God’s people have known
the love, comfort, and strength of Jesus Christ
in times of tragedy.
Your ministry as Christ’s ambassadors
amidst affliction and pain
is victory beyond words, treasure beyond measure,
and grace most precious.
Hope still blooms in darkness
because you were there with the light of the gospel.
I thank God upon every remembrance of you.
Though the world despises your office or discounts your care,
your loyalty to your calling and devotion to your Savior
is recorded in heaven and honored by all who dwell there.
You have made an eternal difference
by anchoring souls to unshakable truth in their worst storms.
No word of Scripture you have spoken
has been without God’s intended effect.
No loving deed has been too obscure to escape his notice.
No grief you have borne has been futile.
Your labor is not in vain.
He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day
of Christ Jesus.