"We take for granted that the object of the Christian ministry is to convert sinners and to edify the body of Christ. No faithful minister can possibly rest short of this. Applause, fame, popularity, honor, wealth–all these are vain. If souls are not won, if saints are not matured, our ministry itself is vain. The question, therefore, which each of us has to answer to his own conscience is, Has it been the end of my ministry, has it been the desire of my heart to save the lost and guide the saved? Is this my aim in every sermon I preach, in every visit I pay? Is it under the influence of this feeling that I continually live and walk and speak? Is it for this I pray and toil and fast and weep? Is it for this I spend and am spent, counting it, next to the salvation of my own soul, my chiefest joy to be the instrument of saving others? Is it for this that I exist? To accomplish this would I gladly die? Have I seen the pleasure of the Lord prospering in my hand? Have I seen souls converted under my ministry? Have God’s people found refreshment from my lips, and gone upon their way rejoicing, or have I seen no fruit of my labours, and yet content to remain unblest? Am I satisfied to preach, and yet not know of one saving impression made, one sinner awakened? Can I go contentedly through the routine of ministerial labour, and never think of asking how God is prospering the work of my hands and the words of my lips?"
Excerpt taken from "Words To Winners of Souls" by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)