Have you ever wished that you were more useful? Have you ever longed to
accomplish something important? Today’s attached devotional gives you
the secret of fulfilling those wishes by showing what made a great man
of God so useful!. God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
Matthew 18:3 (ESV)
3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
“Conversion made Calvin submissive ¾ so that when God called him to the Geneva ministry in 1537, though this call ran clean contrary to his natural hopes and wishes, and his natural ideas to what he was suited for, he nevertheless submitted. And when, after three years of exile in pleasant company in Strasbourg, he was summoned back to his thankless Swiss pastorate, he submitted again. He did not want to return to Geneva ¾ ‘I should prefer a hundred other deaths rather than this cross on which I should have to die a thousand times a day,’ he wrote when the invitation came. But he did not play Jonah, running away from the call of God. To Farel, who had pressed on him the duty of returning, he wrote: ‘If I had any choice I would rather do anything than give in to you in this matter, but since I remember that I no longer belong to myself, I offer my heart to God as a sacrifice.’ So back he went, for twenty-three more years of unremitting labor, till, worn out with illness and overwork, he died, in harness, as the sun went down on May 27, 1564. His seal showed a heart held by a large hand, with the motto Prompte et sincere ¾ and his life was a sustained display of promptness and sincerity in submitting to the God who had made Himself the master of Calvin’s heart. Without complaint, discontent, or self-pity, he submitted to the rigors of health, circumstances, and the crushing load of spiritual responsibility, that God put upon him, and bore those burdens patiently till God gave him release. This was one side of his humility before God.
“Conversion also made him docile. That, too, was a crucial element in Calvin’s humility. We are thinking of Calvin as a servant of God’s Word ¾ and a man must be divinely humbled before he becomes capable of this service. Proud man naturally leans to his own understanding; he would far rather speculate and follow his own ideas than listen to God speaking in Holy Scripture. Calvin, however, was humbled and made teachable by divine grace, and from then onward his overmastering intellectual concern was to learn the truth taught by Scripture; to function as a faithful echo of Scripture in his own teaching; and to make an accurate application of Scripture to men and situations. There never was a less speculative, less opinionated thinker that John Calvin. No theologian or preacher has ever been more consistently and exclusively dependent on Holy Scripture. Thus, though the Institutio is a work of tremendous power, learning, and ability, a book which reveals a truly staggering intellectual grasp at every point, one cannot read a page of it without realizing that, for all its positiveness of assertion and sharpness in controversy, it is fundamentally a humble book. Though learned, it is the very opposite of sophisticated; it reveals its author as a man of simple, childlike spirit. For Calvin never says: this is my idea. He only ever says: this is what Scripture teaches. The author of the Institutio displays no other intellectual interest than to echo and explicate the written Word: in other words, to be a loyal servant of the Word of God.
“Such, then, was John Calvin, the brilliant boy from Noyon, transformed by conversion into a God-centered, God-mastered, God-honoring man who bowed humbly to God’s will and listened humbly to God’s Word, and whose tremendous powers of penetration and insight were put wholly at the service of the Scriptures. This was the man whom God could and did use to preserve Protestantism.” [J. I. Packer, “John Calvin: A Servant of the Word,” Puritan Papers III, (1963-1964) edited by J. I. Packer, (Philipsburg, PA: P&R Publishing, 2001), p. 174-176]