3 August 2010
When [Columbanus] left his native place, he betook himself to a holy man named Senilis, who at this time was distinguished among his countrymen for his unusual piety and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. And when the holy man saw that St. Columban had great ability, he instructed him in the knowledge of all the Holy Scriptures.
- The Monk Jonas, Life of St. Columban (Italian, 7th century)
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left his oxen and ran after Elijah...
- 1 Kings 19.19, 20
Who are your companions in this journey with Jesus Christ? With whom do you associate to keep yourself sharp and on the growing edge of faith and ministry? The apostle Paul reminded us that bad company corrupts good manners (1 Cor. 15.33). The opposite is true as well: good company, holy company, Biblical-steeped company makes you a better person in following the Lord.
Celtic Christians understood this. No one would be foolish enough to go off on peregrinatio without first spending a significant amount of time with a holy and knowledgeable mentor. Typically, such mentoring was done in a school or monastery, and focused on learning Scripture, growing in piety, mastering the disciplines of growth, and learning ministry skills.
Columbanus studied first with Senilis before going to the monastery at Bangor where Comgall was his master. At the age of 50 Columbanus, by then a renowned scholar and teacher, determined that his time for peregrinatio had come, and he set off with a handful of companions for the continent.
There he faithfully replicated what he had learned: win men to Christ, teach them to follow Jesus, ground them in the Word, and thrust them our for mission.
Do you have someone in your life to do this for you? Who is your primary teacher? Does he or she insist that you grow closer to Jesus each day? That you take up the challenge of Gospel ministry with everyone in your life? That you press on to bring holiness to completion in the fear of God?
If you have no one like this, ask the Lord to bring someone your way. And, while you're praying, ask Him whom you might begin to mentor in this way as well. We all need a mentor, and we should all be seeking to mentor others. This is the way the Gospel accelerates, as it did in Columbanus' day, to reach and renew people in the grace of the Lord.
Exercise for the Month: We'll be working on this all month long. This week begin making a list of all the people you meet, day-by-day. Start praying for them, using some of the promises of Scripture. Pray daily and throughout the day, asking the Lord to give you a heart to reach out to these people whom you encounter throughout your peregrinatio. All this week, just concentrate on prayer. Drop me a line and tell me how it's going.
Today in ReVision: Ethics - Remember ethics?
This Week's Download: Coming this week, stay tuned.