While we may not all be preachers or elders, the following word is directly applicable to those who are and indirectly to those that are not as they seek out and seek to cultivate genuine ministers of the Gospel.
The Chapel I served in England was not structurally fancy. It was built in 1819 of plain stone. Its expansions over the years were practical and yet of good quality. Thankfully the building was not a designated historical building which enabled us to make any changes without hassle. We sought to modernize the building yet not without compromising its heritage. One change we made when we introduced A/V was to move the historic plaques on the front wall in the Chapel. There is a certain theology of architecture and this said that we worshipped our past. Valueing our past we moved these marble plaques to the rear of the Chapel and put an elegant and yet simple cross on the front wall. In this way we not only made space for a blank area on which the lyrics of songs could be projected, but fixed our eyes on Jesus with the cloud of witnesses behind us (Heb 12:1–2a).
Though our Chapel had few unique features it did have one, one rich in theology and one that we kept. It was so unique that no one, including visiting preachers or even myself, had ever seen the likes of it anywhere else. On the wood panelling of the balcony facing the pulpit was a Georgian (pre-1837) plaque noted in the picture above. In old KJV English it read:
Thou therefore gird up they loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command these; be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. (Jeremiah Chap. 1 Ver.17)
In contemporary English it is translated:
But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. (Jer 1:17, ESV)
At first glance this appeared rather an odd text. Why not something more along the lines of “woe is me if I preach not the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16) or “preach the word in season and out of season” (2 Ti 4:2). Yet on a closer inspection this verse is of great relevance for it reminds the preacher, and any interested in truth, to fear God above pleasing man.
Jeremiah had a very difficult ministry. He had to speak God’s truth into the deteriorating covenant relationship between God and Judah just before the Babylonian invasion. Yet it was only this biting ointment that could be a balm for their wounds.
The Lord gave Jeremiah four commands:
 James Culross, The Three Rylands (1897), 73.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.