There is an evil under the sun which is as terrible as an open catastrophe; indeed, it works greater ill to the church in the long run–that is when a man’s ministry is eaten through and through with spiritual dry rot.
I heard it described the way in which furniture may be devoured by a certain type of ants. The ants will come into the house and eat up everything, and yet, to all appearances, nothing is touched. The bookcases and furniture stay just where they were, and everything else remains exactly as before. At least to the outward eye. But when these things are later touched, they all crumble to pieces because the ants have eaten the interior substance out of them.
In the same way, some men still remain in the ministry, and yet the soul of their ministry is gone. They have a name that is living, but they are dead; what can be worse than that condition? One might almost sooner have an explosion, and have done with it than see men continuing to maintain the form of religion after vital godliness has gone, scattering death all around them, and yet maintaining what is called a respectable position.
May God save us from this! If I am a rotten bough, then let me be cut off; but to hang upon the tree, all eaten up within, is deplorable. A respected ministry, void of spiritual life, is little better than respectable damnation, from which may God delver us.
– C. H. Spurgeon