Power!—Power in the hands of a man of God will result in blessing, but power in the hands of a hireling becomes a curse. Power entails responsibility, and God will not hold him guiltless who abuses the privileges and opportunities it brings.
Garb!—Conservatism should characterize the wearing apparel of the minister. A lew, however, seem desirous of hiding their identity as 85 ministers through pronouncedly secular-appearing garments,— sporty suits, flashy ties and hose, and prominently displayed fancy handkerchiefs. A consistent life is a minister's most potent asset.
Unity!!—It is better to proceed more slowly and surely, and achieve more abiding, united results, than to rush impetuously on in independence, however good the cause. In Christian service we are an army. We must not break ranks. Otherwise confusion and disaster will come. First, instruction, discussion, understanding, acceptance—then action.
Confidence!—Confidence in the intrinsic character—the basic integrity—of a minister, is indispensable to his success. Brilliance, knowledge, and ability are not sufficient to hold confidence. No bank, whatever its assets, can prevent a run if its directing officials lose the confidence is of the depositors. The conduct of even such a secular institution rests upon character, and consequent confidence. Much more is this true in the work of God.
Defenders!—Compromise may be the way of seeming peace, but in reality it is the way of weakness and surrender. We are to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered. Corruption and perversion must be rebuked. We shrink from conflict in these easy-going days. We decry the outspoken. We praise the "balanced," middle-of-the-road man. But the neutralizing, compromising attitude ever strengthens the hands of the enemy.
Thoughtful!—Of what real value is brilliance, wit, or volubility in either oral or written expression if it does not convey substantial, constructive truth? Much that is uttered nowadays is nothing but chaff. It is often bedecked with garlands of rhetoric, but is barren of any real saving message. Frequently it is embellished with well-rounded periods that but thinly veil its paucity of thought. Such effusions are valueless. The ministry of this movement should be a substantial, thoughtful body—well-read, forceful, spiritual, loyal, and constructive.
Inconsistency!—Inconsistency in the ministry becomes a serious stumblingblock to the church. Its inevitable tendency is to shake the faith of the people, and to stanch the springs of their giving. To preach economy and practice extravagance is devastating in its results. To preach the nearness of Christ's return, yet to live and labor as if a century were before us, largely nullifies the message. To preach faith publicly and whisper doubt privately is to do irreparable damage to a trusting laity. May God keep us clear of such accursed inconsistency.