THE SHEPHERD’S CORNER
We don’t know the exact number of copies that have been sold. What we know is that the book has been translated into 200 languages and millions of copies have been sold. It is estimated that next to the Bible, it is the one book that has outsold any other books. And, it is never out of print, which means it continues to be printed, published, and sold—without copy right because it has expired long ago. The title of the book is, “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
It was John Bunyan who wrote the book in 1678 in prison. Yes, he was sent to prison three times for a total of 12 years for preaching without license. But, this Englishman never gave up. Despite the fact that he had four children—the oldest namely Mary was blind—and later his wife died, he continued doing what God had called him to do—to preach the Gospel. When he couldn’t do it audibly, being detained in prison, he then did it inaudibly—through his pen. And, the echo of his message still reverberates even after 338 years.
What is interesting about John Bunyan is that he was not a theologically trained pastor. In his church he functioned as a deacon. Yes, a deacon, just like our brothers Tjandra Gunawan, Peter Chua, Joseph Lim, and our sisters Cynthia Inderabudhi dan Joyce Ling. I am sure no one can ever say that John Bunyan was not as effective as any pastors we have known. He was as and more effective than many pastors I have known—including myself.
The key to his effectiveness lied in one single attitude—obedience. On a more personal note he once shared how difficult it was for him to leave his blind daughter for prison. But, he obeyed his Lord, not his heart. He remained true to his calling—a deacon, a servant. You who have served as deacons have also remained true to this calling.