Benjamin Franklin: “Trust in the Lord, and Work On”

Benjamin Franklin: "Trust in the Lord, and work on."

Benjamin Franklin (1812-1878) dedicated his life to preaching the gospel. He was also a prolific writer, serving as editor of American Christian Review – one of the more influential journals among those associated with the Restoration Movement. Through his writings, he sought to encourage other preachers. The following quote describes the need for perseverance in one who would preach the gospel.

“He must be a man of perseverance. A man who can not preach a week without any success, and not become discouraged, had better go home. He is not the man. It is nothing strange to preach a dozen or fifteen discourses without success. Let him preach again. If he still has no success, let him humble himself before the Lord, in most fervent prayer, and make another effort. If he shall still fail in one place, go to another, and try again. Remember Noah, who preached one hundred and twenty years, without an addition, and preach on and pray on. Trust in the Lord, and work on” (They Heard Him Gladly, p. 43).

The work of preaching can be discouraging at times. Many who need to hear and obey the truth will not want to listen (Acts 18:5-6). Many others who will listen will come up with various excuses as to why they will not obey the gospel (Acts 24:24-25; 26:27-29). Some brethren will turn their backs on the truth, either for false teaching (2 Timothy 4:3-4) or simply for the things of this world (2 Timothy 4:10). Some who once supported a preacher will withdraw their support and refuse to stand with him (2 Timothy 4:16). There will even be some brethren who will actively oppose those who teach the truth (2 Corinthians 11:26; 3 John 9-10). Because of these and other realities, there will be times when it seems like the most appealing option is to quit.

In reference to Franklin, Ottis Castleberry wrote, “If he ever seriously considered turning back he never openly admitted it” (They Heard Him Gladly, p. 43). Instead, he trusted in the Lord, persevered, and continued his work in preaching the gospel.

Preachers today need to learn from the example of men like Franklin, as well as give heed to Paul’s words to Timothy: “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). Preaching the gospel is not an easy work, but it is a needed work. Instead of giving up when the results are not what we might hope they would be, let us “trust in the Lord, and work on.”

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