Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, and give them their meat in due season?
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The words “meat in due season” should ever be before the servant of God. What is needed, primarily, by one congregation, may not be specifically needed by another. If called to labour where Arminian preachers have preceded, then the neglected truth of God’s sovereignty should be expounded—though with caution and care, lest too much “strong meat” be given to “babes.” The example of Christ in John 16:12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now,” must be borne in mind. On the other hand, if I am called to take charge of a distinctly Calvinistic pulpit, then the truth of human responsibility (in its many aspects) may be profitably set forth. What the preacher needs to give out is not what his people most like to hear, but what they most need―those aspects of truth they are least familiar with, or least exhibiting in their walk.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Ostracism seems to be dreaded so much, that men good and true hold their tongues.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Beware of man-pleasing, there is too much of it among us.
AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1778): Being called to preach one Sunday at a country town, where were two different meetings, the one Calvinistic, the other Arminian, Dr. D——— provided himself with two sermons, as opposite in their plan as were the congregations he was to preach. When arrived at the place, he mounted Calvinist pulpit in the morning. He gave out his text and began his discourse; but had not got far before he perceived he had pulled out the wrong sermon. He could not, however, recede, but went through with it, with much unease to himself, and to the great dissatisfaction of his auditory. Having but two sermons with him, and knowing that many of his morning hearers would follow him to the other meeting, he was under the necessity of preaching his Calvinistic discourse to the Arminian synagogue, where he gave as much discontent as he had done to the others before. The doctor, lamenting his mistake shortly after to an intimate friend, received this mortifying answer, “Never mind it, sir. You only happened to put your hand into the wrong pocket.” Such are the fruits of men-fearing and men-pleasing.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): And in this we see how we ought to regard such as pretend to preach God’s Word in these days, and yet are so timid that they dare not open their mouth until they have thought two or three times whether the things they intend to speak may offend or delight the ears of him or her.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): But this is a faint representation of our folly, if, believing ourselves to be the servants of God, being convinced, as we say, of the worth and danger of souls, and knowing that the Gospel of God, committed to our trust, is the only possible means of their recovery, a regard to the fear or favour of men should prevail on us to suppress or soften our message, and to accommodate ourselves to their taste.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): It is a poor sermon that gives no offence; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.
JOHN NEWTON: A minister has almost hit the marks if, when his sermon is over, some call him an Antinomian, and some an Arminian.
ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): Their hearts may rise against you, and they may be displeased with your preaching; but you must not desist.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): If thou art free and bold, thou mayest, indeed, be mocked by some, but thou wilt be reverenced by more: yea, even they that wag their heads at thee, carry that in their conscience which will make them fear thee.
JOHN NEWTON: Those who trust the Lord, and act openly, with an honest freedom and consistence, I observe He generally bears them out, smooths their way, and makes their enemies their friends, or at least restrains their rage; while such as halve things, temporize, and aim to please God and man together, meet with double disappointment, and are neither useful nor respected. If we trust to Him, He will stand by us; if we regard men, He will leave us to make the best we can of them.
WILLIAM GURNALL: He that thinks to please men, goes about an endless and needless work…If thou wouldst thou couldst not please all; and if thou couldst, there is no need, if thou pleasest Him that can turn all their hearts and bind their hands. They speed best that dare to be faithful…Jeremiah seemed the only man likely to lose his life by his bold preaching; yet he had fairer quarter at last than the smooth preachers of his time.
THOMAS SCOTT (1747-1821): Here I find my own deficiency, as much or more than in any other respect: and often I felt an inward timidity, when about to preach upon an unpopular doctrine, or expose a foible, which some one in my congregation, whom I otherwise love and esteem, is remarkable for: and in every instance I feel the greatest reluctance to resign the good opinion, or act contrary to the judgment of those for whom I have esteem. It is true, I am peculiarly bound to strive against this, by reason of my Ministerial office. I am to speak boldly, “not as a man-pleaser, but as the servant of God”—and therefore I endeavour to master all these fears, and to act implicitly as my conscience suggests, without respect of persons. Conformity to others in things unchristian, the fear of man, a servile spirit of time-serving, are the faults of Ministers, and effectually hinder even those that desire it from performing the most important parts of their Ministry, both in public preaching, and by private applications.
JOHN CALVIN: There are, as you know, two kinds of popularity: the one, when we hunt after favour from motives of ambition and the desire of pleasing; the other, when by fairness and moderation we gain their esteem so as to make them willing to be taught by us.
C. H. SPURGEON: A minister who is a mere man-pleaser is a soul-destroyer.
WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): Dead fish go with the stream, living ones against it.
AUGUSTINE (354-430): He who for fear of any power hides the truth, provokes the wrath of God to come upon him, for he fears men more than God…Doth man hate thee? Fear God. Doth the devil fight against thee? Fear God. For the whole creation is under Him whom thou art commanded to fear.