“One man like Mr. Whitefield is raised up to preach the gospel with success through a considerable part of the earth. Another is called to the humbler service of sweeping the streets, or cleaning this great minister’s shoes.
Now if the latter is thankful and content in his poor station, if he can look without envy, yea, with much love on the man that is honoured, if he can rejoice in the good that is done, or pray for the success of those whom the Lord sends, I see not why he may not be as great a man in the sight of God, as he who is followed and admired by thousands.
I am inclined to think, that if you and I were to travel in search of the best Christian in the land, or were qualified to distinguish who deserved the title, it is more than two to one we should not find the person in a pulpit, or any public office of life.
Perhaps some old woman at her wheel, or some bedridden person, hid from the knowledge of the world, in a mud-walled cottage, would strike our attention more than any of the doctors or reverends with whom we are acquainted.
Let us not measure men, much less ourselves, by gifts or services. One grain of grace is worth abundance of gifts.
To be self-abased, to be filled with a spirit of love, and peace, and gentleness, to be dead to the world, to have the heart deeply affected with a sense of the glory and grace of Jesus, to have our will bowed to the will of God: these are the great things, more valuable, if compared in the balance of the sanctuary, than to be an instrument of converting a province or a nation. See 1 Corinthians 13:1–3.”
–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 168-169.