Edwards on the Ministry (11)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13.4-8
One of the most important efforts any pastor can devote himself to is working out his own salvation (Phil. 2.12) and bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7.1). We can only be the kind of people Christ was if Christ is living in us more and we are living in us less. No shepherd can expect his flock to grow in the Lord and their calling to His Kingdom and glory if he himself is not setting the pace for them. Increasing in love for God and our neighbors by the Word and power of God must be our highest priority as ministers of the Word.
In “Christ the Example of Ministers” Edwards insisted on this: “Ministers should be persons of the same quiet, lamb-like spirit that Christ was of, the same spirit of submission to God’s will, and patience under afflictions, and meekness towards men; of the same calmness and composure of spirit under reproaches and sufferings from the malignity of evil men; of the same spirit of forgiveness of injuries; of the same spirit of charity, of fervent love and extensive benevolence; the same disposition to pity the miserable, to weep with those who weep, to help men under their calamities of both soul and body, to hear and grant the requests of the needy, and relieve the afflicted; the same spirit of condescension to the poor and mean, tenderness and gentleness towards the weak, and great and effectual love to enemies.”
In short, Jesus must increase, and we must decrease; He must grow in us from glory to glory, and we must deny ourselves and sweep our houses clear of every evil and anything that is contrary to the holy and righteous and good purpose of God. Then patience and love will flourish in us, and we will be true under shepherds of our great Good Shepherd.
Resources for Shepherds
Our book, An Essay on Preaching, is now available. You can order your free copy by clicking here. An Essay on Preaching considers the views on preaching of poet and hymn writer William Cowper. He observed much that was wrong and lacking in the preaching of his day; and he offered sound advice for all those called to the ministry of the Word.
Every shepherd needs a good understanding of what we’re up against in seeking the Kingdom of God in our day. Our book, Understanding the Times, takes a careful look at the days in which we live and considers what we as believers and shepherds must do to continue serving the Lord fruitfully. Order your free copy of Understanding the Times by clicking here.
From the Celtic Revival
In our Tuesday and Wednesday teaching letter, Crosfigell, we continue our devotional history of the Celtic Revival by beginning to look at the role of monasteries and the men who built and led them in that great movement of God’s Spirit. Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s issue:
Let all our mind
be upon the people of God, whom we do not conceal.
It will benefit us to make trial
of the prologue which we recite.
The world’s strength is a deception
to whoever dwells therein;
there is no strength
save great love for the Son of Mary.
Though the kings of this world are great
to you who look [upon them],
a hundred hundred times loftier
are the humble hirelings of Jesus.
Though they are lower in the eyes of men,
and in the noise of their outcry,
they will be exalted in the high stronghold of the Kingdom,
for age upon age.
- Oengus mac Oengobann, The Martyrology of Oengus (9th century?)
You can read the commentary accompanying this excerpt by clicking here.
We’re happy to offer brief video excerpts from leaders of the Celtic Revival, focusing on the values we in The Fellowship have culled from their example. You can learn more about the values of holiness and calling by clicking here and here.
T. M. Moore
We go through many seasons in our life, and not just those that mark the passage of a year. Our latest book of poems, Seasons, explains. Order your free copy by clicking here.
It is our privilege to provide resources and opportunities to equip and encourage church leaders in building the Lord’s Church and advancing His Kingdom. Please pray that God will move many of those we serve through this ministry to share with us financially in its support. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 In Carey, pp. 188, 189.