As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42.1, 2
A recent Barna survey asked pastors what they most liked about pastoral ministry. Many tasks were mentioned – evangelizing, making disciples, counseling, leadership training, preaching, and so forth. Not surprisingly, 60% of those interviewed said they preferred preaching above all. Nothing else in the list came even remotely close.
What we most enjoy we will devote most of our time and attention to doing. It’s not surprising that most pastors spend the largest chunk of their time each week preparing to preach. It’s what they most enjoy.
I was surprised that “Spending time with Jesus” was not on Barna’s survey. Do we simply take for granted that this is our dearest, most important, and most consistently sought of all activities? Or are we afraid to ask?
Columbanus reminds us to keep first things first in the work of ministry: “So still, my dearest brethren, give ear to our words, in the belief that you will hear something needful, and refresh the thirst of your mind from the streams of the divine fountain of which we now wish to speak, but do not quench that thirst, drink, but be not sated; for now the living Fountain, the Fountain of life, calls us to Himself, and says, Let Him that is athirst come unto Me and drink.” (Sermon XIII)
Pastors sometimes complain that their people don’t seem very hungry or thirsty for the things of the Lord. Sated on the junk food of getting-and-spending, generously ladled over with pop culture, God’s people have little appetite for Christ or His Word.
But what about us? Does our hunger and thirst for Christ make them long for the same? Do they see in us that earnest desire to be with the Lord that tells them they’re missing something of great importance?
Loving Christ and delighting to be with Him is infectious. If the people we serve see it in us, they’ll want it for themselves, more than anything this world might offer.
Resources for Shepherds
If you have not been following our ReVision series, “Let God Be True”, let me encourage you to do so. In our day, lies are rampant and truth is rare. How must we as believers respond? Only by knowing the truth that is in Jesus and setting Him forth against the lies of this age. To download the installments in “Let God Be True” available to this date, click here. To continue in the series, use the Subscription button to update your subscriptions and include ReVision.
Pastors and other church leaders are the shepherds of God’s flock. But what do shepherds do? How do they care for and nurture the flock of the Lord? Our workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock, provides a Biblical foundation for doing the work of shepherding. Following the teaching of Jesus in John 10, this workbook provides Biblical and practical instruction in shepherding that can bring the work of disciple-making to every member of your congregation. Order your free copy by clicking here.
From the Celtic Revival
Our present Crosfigell series (Tuesdays and Thursdays) is considering a remarkable Christian worldview statement by an anonymous 7th-century Celtic scholar. Here’s an excerpt from a recent installment:
But when human beings, for whom they [the sun and the moon] shone brightly from the first, joined together in service, were cast out because of the sin and lost the blessedness of paradise, the heavenly lights also suffered the decrease of their light not without grief on their part even though they were not at fault, as the apostle Paul argues saying: because all creation groans together and mourns even till now. But because the restoration of their former blessedness for the better is promised to the human race through the coming of a Redeemer, there is no doubt creation too will receive [back] its ancient glory.
- The Book of the Order of Creatures, V.3, 4
It’s easy to forget that our sin affects the entire world, including the creation itself. But Jesus has reconciled the world to God, and He calls us to restore that reconciled world to its original goodness. Is the salvation we have received, and in which we rest, as big as the love of God for all the world (Jn. 3.16)?
Subscribe to Crosfigell today (click here to update your subscriptions, be sure you click each one you want, including Pastor to Pastor) and follow us through our study of this remarkable document.
Check out our Celtic Legacy podcast and the other resources available on our dedicated Celtic Revival home page.
If you’d like to explore a 28-day sampler of our Crosfigell teaching letter, order a copy of our devotional guide, Be Thou My Vision. In it you’ll find excerpts from writings of the period of the Celtic Revival, together with Scripture and meditations to help you grow in your vision of Christ, exalted in glory. Order your free copy of Be Thou My Vision by clicking here.
T. M. Moore.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Davies, p. 7