Personal Mission Field/Transformation
But let it be enough to have indicated that each will need to be moulded to the example of his redeemer and the pattern of the true shepherd...
- Columbanus, Letter to the Bishops of Gaul (Irish, 7th century)
By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
- 1 John 2.5, 6
The bishops of the Church in Gaul, as it happened, were not particularly interested in being conformed to the example and pattern of Christ. They were interested in power. In keeping control over their spiritual demesne, and keeping out any competing threats from upstart foreign missionaries - such as Columbanus.
They actually wanted him to come and meet with them so that they could condemn and excommunicate him, but Columbanus politely declined to come to their synod, explaining that he was too busy in the Lord's work to participate in a meeting that wanted to hinder the Lord's work.
Columbanus knew what a true shepherd should look like, and these guys were not that. The Irish missionaries who came to Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries had trained under very godly and devoted men. They had seen what men who truly loved Jesus looked like - how they worshiped and prayed, cared for the flocks of God, and made disciples. And Columbanus knew the bishops of Gaul were not such men.
Knowing what we're after - in our own lives and the lives of those we teach - is an important aspect of the disciple-making process. We want to serve after the example of Jesus Christ. We want to pattern our lives after His. We want to be lovers of God and lovers of our neighbors according to the counsel and wisdom of the Law and Word of God.
If we don't know what we're after as we take up the work of transformation, then any result will do. The bishops of Gaul understood that well. Knowing that we want to walk the way that Jesus did encumbers us to focus clearly and press on unweariedly toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Who's your example? By what pattern are you seeking to be transformed? Let it be Jesus, friends, let it be Jesus.
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