They have often destroyed, by their daily lives — the whole work of their lips!
(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)
"He told them: Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town." Luke 9:3-4
Let us observe that our Lord charges His apostles, when He sends them forth — to study simplicity of habits, and contentment with such things as they have.
These instructions contain a lesson for all time. The spirit of these verses is meant to be remembered by all ministers of the Gospel. The leading idea which the words convey — is a warning against worldliness and luxurious habits.
Well would it be for the world and the Church, if the warning had been more carefully heeded! From no quarter has Christianity received such damage — as it has from the hands of its own ministers! On no point have its ministers erred so much, and so often — as in the matter of personal worldliness, and luxury of life. They have often destroyed, by their daily lives — the whole work of their lips! They have given occasion to the enemies of religion to say that they love ease, and money, and earthly things — far more than souls.
From such ministers, may we pray daily that the Church may be delivered! They are a living stumbling-block in the way to Heaven. They are helpers to the cause of the devil — and not of God. The preacher whose affections are set on money, and finery and feasting, and pleasure-seeking — has clearly mistaken his vocation. He has forgotten his Master's instructions. He is not an apostolic man!