Many evangelical Christians are familiar with Robert Murray McCheyne, a pastor in Scotland in the mid 1800’s. He is known to us primarily through the biography written by his good friend, Andrew Bonar. I have been recently blessed by reading the biography of the biographer – the story of Andrew Bonar. The Good Pastor, published in 1999 by Ambassador Publications, contains selections of the original version which was edited by Bonar’s daughter, Marjory, and originally published in 1895.
I’ll get right to it. This book is filled with many quotes that just bless, encourage, and challenge me as a pastor. Here are a few. Enjoy. Then read the book.
Referring to the first sermon he preached, he commented, “I had no heads.” We call them main points. He called that a mistake because, “Hearers need pegs on which to hang the truth.”
During a time of revival in his region, “The thirst for the word of God was very great. Not only did the people walk long distances to hear, but they never seemed to grow tired of listening.”
Regarding creativity in his messages and methods, “There is more originality in a full heart than in anything else.”
Once after listening to a couple of uneducated men preach, his evident enjoyment was observed by someone, and he said, “If you are very thirsty you will not be particular about the dish you drink out of.”
Regarding the Lord’s Table, “Christ’s nearer coming casts deeper solemnity over every Communion.”
To the Sabbath School teachers, he said, “Be sure and aim at the conversion of the children. They are never too young to come to Jesus. I hope you pray for each of your scholars by name.”
To an older church member, he said, “You must keep fast hold of the text which was written for you: ‘Even to your old age I am He; and even to gray hairs will I carry you’ (Isaiah 46:4). Just as you carried the children when they were young, so the Lord says He will carry you now when you are old.”
In a letter to a friend, he wrote, “We must learn more and more how to suffer.”
He spent two hours in prayer and meditation on God’s Word every morning before going out. He said, “Persevering prayerfulness – day by day wrestling and pleading – is harder for the flesh than preaching.”
After taking his two daughters to see the Queen when she visited Edinburgh, he told a friend, “We saw her, but we were not changed. But when we see Him, we shall be like Him.”
He called people who spent too much time by themselves “earthworms.” “A man can’t meditate when he is always alone. He needs to have intercourse with others to stir him up to meditation.”
On desiring God’s work, “Pray for blessing, for it is like the dew which Gideon prayed for. It falls where it is sought.”
Regarding weariness in ministry, he said, “I have great difficulty because of my own soul which cannot stand three successive weeks of giving out.” “Vessels are not fountains. Vessels need to be filled as well as to give out to others.”
In a letter of encouragement, “If there were twenty crosses for this year written down for you in God’s book of providence, they will soon be past; ye will soon be at the nineteenth, and then there is but one more, and after than nothing! For then ye shall lay your head on His bosom, and His own soft hand shall dry your face and wipe away your tears.”
I am reading this book as a devotional right now, and it really helps this pastor’s heart. I think it will encourage yours too.