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Fruit of Obedience

When we obey, God blesses.

The Celtic Revival: Age of the Peregrini (12)

When that man came to the province of the East Saxons he was honorably received by the king, and a stead was bestowed upon him, and there he wrought to manifest the Word of God; and a multitude of men were brought by him to belief, and others were confirmed in their belief, and faith and love of God were greatened by him.

  - Anonymous, Life of Fursa, 17th century, from an earlier ms.

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

  - 2 Corinthians 3.2, 3

It is our privilege and heritage to follow the work of God through the ages of Scripture and Church history. What God did so long ago, during the period of the New Testament, He has continued to do for nearly 2,000 years, wherever His people have faithfully looked to and served Him in their individual callings.

This succinct summary of Fursa’s ministry is as much detail as we get from this brief account relating the blessing of God on his work. But we can clearly see the same kind of fruit from his mission to England in the early 630s as we saw in Paul and in many of the Irish peregrini of the Celtic Revival (ca. 430-800 AD).

By the time Fursa arrived in England, the churches were in disarray and paganism was on the rise. We note that, upon arriving in England, Fursa presented himself to the local king. This was not, as some might suppose, so that, having converted the king, the king would convert all his people by royal decree. Instead, this was a gesture of respect. Fursa knew he was bringing a powerful new Word to the people of England, a Word that would challenge their pagan beliefs and ways. By meeting with the king, and assuring him of his good intentions, Fursa gained the freedom to establish a base of operations (“a stead”) and to move freely among the people, doing good and preaching the Word.

The writer makes a point of reporting that “a multitude of men were brought by him to belief.” Undoubtedly, many women and children also came to faith, but Fursa understood the importance of reaching men with the Gospel, and the writer duly records the fruit of his ministry. Christianity had already been established in England by this time, but the condition of the Church was not encouraging, as we see from the contemporary account by Gildas. Thus our writer reports that many who already believed “were confirmed in their belief.”

Those who came to faith, and those who had their faith renewed, responded to Fursa’s ministry with faith and love for God, which “were greatened” under Fursa’s preaching and teaching, as the revival that was flourishing in Ireland now began to take root in England as well.

Fursa doubtless knew what conditions were like in England. His mentor, Finnian of Clonard, had corresponded with Gildas, and Finnian and Fursa were most likely familiar with that British monk’s work, The Ruin of Britain. Fursa might have simply remained in Ireland to contribute to the the work that was ongoing there. Instead, he followed the Lord’s vision into his own calling and Personal Mission Field. And the Lord honored his obedience and brought forth much fruit for His glory.

What do we expect as we go out into our own Personal Mission Field each day? Do we expect to find ourselves among many unbelievers, and perhaps a few Christians whose faith is not as robust as it might be? Do we expect the Lord to use us there, as we live the good works of Jesus and share the Good News of His Kingdom? God has used many people before us, like Paul and Fursa, who were faithful in their calling. Why should He not use us?

His grace is with us, and His truth and Spirit accompany us wherever we go. If we are not working our Personal Mission Field faithfully and diligently, it’s not because we lack any of the resources that Paul and Fursa had at their disposal.

More likely, it’s because we just don’t believe God can use us. Or perhaps we fear that making an issue of Jesus with the people around us won’t go down as well as it did with Paul and Fursa. But why should it not? Certainly, some will object and make it clear that they do not want to talk about the things of the Lord. But should we be the ones to decide that, or should they?

Each day Jesus sends us to the world as He Himself was sent (Jn. 20.21), to bring near the reality of His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit. Let us prepare well each day, and seek the Lord for His strength, truth, grace, and peace, that we might fulfill our calling each day as ambassadors of His Kingdom and agents of His love.

God will honor our obedience with fruit – in His way and time. Our calling is to be faithful each day, trusting the Lord and working our Personal Mission Field as peregrini pro Christo in our own time. Let the examples of Paul and Fursa encourage you to trust that God can use you as well. Then go forth to “manifest the Word of God” in all you do and say.

For Reflection
1. Whom do you expect to see or be with today in your Personal Mission Field? What will you do to let them know the Kingdom of God is at hand?

2. How should you prepare right now for the opportunities God will give you today (Eph. 5.15-17)?

Psalm 126.4-6 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.

Help me each day, Lord, to be faithful and obedient, and to trust You to…

Three resources
Think your life is too small to mean much for the Kingdom? You need to read our book, Small Stuff, which can help to renew your perspective. You can order a free copy by clicking here.

Our booklets, The Kingdom of God and Joy to Your World!, can help you in working your Personal Mission Field. You can get them both for free by clicking here. Order copies for your Christian friends and use the last chapter of Joy to Your World! to help them map out their Personal Mission Field.

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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