Encouragement for pastors who are trying to turn a ship, with little success

The 19th century New Orleans Presbyterian pastor Benjamin Morgan Palmer, in a letter to a younger pastor, gives some great words of counsel to those who are discouraged by the pace and impact of their labors:

Can it be you have forgotten that we have God, and time and truth upon our side, and that we can afford to be patient? We belong to a system which is eternal, and which sweeps in cycles that utterly baffle all human comprehension. ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day;’ and though this is far from being true of us, it is true of that divine scheme to which we have consecrated our lives, our hearts and our labors. It would be pleasant indeed to be permitted to move the church over an entire semicircle, or some larger segment still; but it is a matter of profound thanksgiving if we are used in pushing it forward but a single inch. If God allows ages to elapse in the erection of that splendid temple in which his praise is to be sung through all of a future eternity, it is perhaps enough for you and me to put but a single brick or stone into the glorious structure. Be sure, that in due season it will go up; and ‘the headstone be brought forth with shoutings, grace, grace unto it.’ — The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, 143-144


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