For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God… Colossians 1.9, 10
The greatest temptation a pastor must deal with is feeling like he has to please everyone. We don’t want anyone to be upset or hurt or angry, but we know we are finite creatures with limited skills. We simply can’t please everyone. We’d wear ourselves out if we tried.
Which means there are going to be some upset, hurt, and angry folks in our churches. That’s not what’s best for them, for the church, or for us as shepherds; it’s just the way things are.
But situations like this can be endured and even improved if we keep our eyes on the Lord and make it our persistent desire to please Him above all. Columbanus put it this way: “What is the best thing in the world? To please its Creator. What is His will? To fulfill what He commanded, that is, to live rightly and dutifully to seek the Eternal; for duty and justice are the will of Him Who is dutiful and right. How do we reach this goal? By application. Then we must apply ourselves in duty and justice. What helps to maintain this practice? Understanding, which, while it winnows the remainder and finds nothing solid to rest in amongst those things which the world possesses, turns in wisdom to the one thing which is eternal” (Sermon III).
As shepherds we must continue to grow in our walk with the Lord, moving from understanding God’s Word to those daily applications which please God and bless others. Our personal goal must be to increase in wisdom and knowledge, which is to increase in Jesus Christ. All our preaching and teaching is for the sake of others being able to grow in the Lord. But unless we also are growing, our labors on behalf of the people of God will not be as fervent or fruitful as they might be.
A pastor’s own growth in the Lord must be his primary concern, for without this, we cannot expect our ministries to bear consistent and abounding fruit in those we serve. Keep growing in what pleases the Lord, and the difficulties and disappointments of this life won’t be so painful to bear.
Resources for Shepherds
If you haven’t visited our Resources for Shepherds page lately, I encourage you to do so. I’m starting a new series of Insights on Paul’s teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit from Romans 8. Plus, summaries of interesting articles and books will be added in the near future. And don’t forget to check out the websites and podcasts listed on the right-hand side.
May I humbly encourage you to download a free copy of my A Reading Journal from our bookstore (click here)? These summaries of articles from journals, periodicals, and websites, together with a handful of book reviews from the past 10 years, can be a helpful resources for building out your own Kingdom worldview, and sharing it with others.
From the Celtic Revival
Here’s an excerpt from Crosfigell, our twice-weekly teaching letter featuring insights from the writers of the Celtic Revival:
Berach the sweet-lipped left
in the glen of the unbelieving monks
hospitality of a true lord of meat…
Whether they be foreigners, or buffoons, or jesters,
till the judgment come of the crashing din,
he will not be without ample hospitality…
- Anonymous, Life of Berach
The Celtic Revival wasn’t all missions and evangelism and preaching. Hospitality was an important part of the Kingdom lifestyle practiced by leaders like Berach. Read more about his legacy by clicking here.
Check out our Celtic Legacy podcast and the other resources available on our dedicated Celtic Revival home page.
T. M. Moore.
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 Anedot, 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.
 Plummer, p. 30