In his latest book, Some Pastors and Teachers, Sinclair Ferguson considers how God changed the city of Geneva through the ministry of John Calvin. He questions how Geneva was “transformed from a quasi-political reformation to a genuine gospel reformation.”
First, prayer changed the city. One of the first things Calvin did on his return from Strasbourg was to institute a weekly day of prayer. While there was regular preaching each weekday, Wednesdays were set aside for prayer from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. At these times, as well as in the regular private prayers of the congregation and the regular prayers in the worship services, the people and this ministers prayed for the benediction of God on the city and on the growing number of churches that were being planted outside of Geneva.
The second thing that transformed Geneva was the ministry of the word of God. Sermons were preached on Sunday mornings and afternoons. On weekdays, Calvin preached three times during the week (and when his strength allowed it, he preached every day). Beza says about a thousand people crowded into the cathedral in Geneva to listen to this frail, asthmatic man as he preached the word of God. He worked the word of God like a potter into the clay of God’s people in Geneva, sometimes preaching ten times a week, perhaps forty minutes or more each time. Besides that, he gave three lectures on the Old Testament to student each week, went to Consistory meetings on Thursdays, and participated in the Congregation.
Ferguson concludes of Calvin, “He lived physically and spiritually on the edge. At times he could be irritable. It was a wonderful reality, then, to this tightly wound man, living under such great pressure, that Jesus Christ was so kind.”
The kindness of the Lord sustains his servants. What if we all opened our hearts to the kindness of Jesus Christ? Maybe he could transform your city into a modern-day Geneva.
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at David's blog, Things of the Sort.