A pastor’s lament and humble confidence (James Lyon)

In 1850 James Lyon, a Presbyterian pastor in St. Louis, MO, and Columbus, MS, reflected in his journal on his ministry, and his words so beautifully describe the heart of every sincere and godly pastor: “I am greatly distressed when I consider how much good might be done – & yet I have some reason to be humbly thankful for the little good that really has been done.” Lament and humble confidence that at least a little good has been accomplished through him by God. What true pastor does not feel the weight of these words daily?

Later in his journal, Lyon expresses his dismay at one a family, who could have done so much more for the Lord and the church than they did: “One of my Elder families act very inconsistently and have greatly distressed me – They might exert great influence in the upbuilding of the church – and yet they are captivated with the gay follies of the place – and carried away with the “fashion” of the times and place – How sadly I often find myself to be mistaken – That what I imagine would contribute most to the upbuilding of the ch[urch], really proves to be not only a dead weight but a draw back…” Again, what pastor has not experienced this sadness?

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