Puny preacher-man

I can’t let Reformation Day 495 pass without a citation from my beloved father, brother, and fellow pastor, John Calvin (1509-1564). What he says here is a great encouragement to preachers who feel unequal to the task, and is humbling to preachers who are up on themselves.

For by this means [God] first declares his regard for us when from among men he takes some to serve as his ambassadors in the world [cf. 2 Cor 5:20], to be interpreters of his secret will and, in short, to represent his person. And by this evidence he proves it to be no idle speaking that he often calls us temples [1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16], since from the lips of men, as from the sanctuary, he gives his answers to men.

Again, this is the best and most useful exercise in humility, when he accustoms us to obey his Word, even though it be preached through men like us and sometimes even by those of lower worth than we. If he spoke from heaven, it would not be surprising if his sacred oracles were to be reverently received without delay by the ears and minds of all. For who would not dread the presence of his power? Who would not be stricken down at the sight of such great majesty? Who would not be confounded at such boundless splendour? But when a puny man risen from the dust speaks in God’s name, at this point we best evidence our piety and obedience toward God if we show ourselves teachable toward his minister, although he excels us in nothing. It was for this reason, then, that he hid the treasure of his heavenly wisdom in weak and earthen vessels [2 Cor 4:7] in order to prove more surely how much we should esteem it.

Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.3.1 (Italics and emphasis mine)

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