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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Pastor to Pastor

Examine Yourself

Every day.

Shepherding God’s Flock (7)

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4.16 (ESV)

Paul insisted that maintaining a healthy self-watch is every shepherd’s duty—not merely for his own sake, but for those he is called to serve. Shepherds must look well to know the state of their own souls before they will be able to look well to the condition of their flocks. And they must, through careful and deliberate use of the analogy of Scripture (1 Cor. 2.12, 13) and the analogy of faith (2 Thess. 2.15), make sure their teaching always remains in the furrows of orthodoxy.

This discipline is best performed daily, but also at regular intervals—at least annually—in meditation and listening before the Lord.

Gregory the Great also understood the need for taking the “measure” of ourselves and our teaching as shepherds of God’s flock: “Wherefore let everyone measure himself wisely, lest he venture to assume a place of rule, while in himself vice still reigns unto condemnation; lest one whom his own guilt depraves desire to become an intercessor for the faults of others…For that man is blind indeed who is unacquainted with the light of supernal contemplation, who, whelmed in the darkness of the present life, while he beholds not at all by loving it the light to come, knows not whither he is advancing the steps of his own conduct” (The Book of Pastoral Rule).

By persisting in keeping a close watch over our own lives, as well as our teaching, we may expect the Lord to bring more of the fruit of salvation to us and to His people through us. Absent such a diligent, persistent self-watch, we put ourselves and God’s people at risk of drifting from our great salvation.

Resources for Shepherds
For an overview of pastoral ministry, together with self-assessment tools to help you improve in every area, check out our book, Fan into Flame. Learn more about this book and order a free copy by clicking here.

The goal of pastoral ministry—as the goal of all Christian life—is to realize more of the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the Good News we proclaim and the realm of which we are citizens and ambassadors. The Kingdom and righteousness of God provide the defining motif for every aspect of our Christian life. We need to make sure we know what the Kingdom is and what it is to live a Kingdom presence in the world. Two resources can help. Order a free copy of our book, The Kingdom Turn, and discover more about the central role of the Kingdom in Christian life (click here). Begin reading our thrice-weekly column, ReVision, in which we have begun a new series on “Kingdom Presence.” You can read the first and second installments in this series here and here, and if you add ReVision to your subscriptions list, you’ll get it three times a week from here on out.

From the Celtic Revival
Here’s a preview of tomorrow’s installment in our twice-weekly teaching letter, Crosfigell. We’re following the life and ministry of Columbanus in a worship/devotional format designed to help us learn from the great Irish missionary/monk and to praise God for what He is teaching us:

Columban gave himself entirely to fasting and prayer, to bearing the easy yoke of Christ, to mortifying the flesh, to taking the cross upon himself and following Christ, in order that he who was to be a teacher of others might show the learning which he taught more fruitfully by his own example in mortifying his own body; and that he who was to instruct others might first instruct himself.

  - Jonas, Life of St. Columban[1]

Observe the sorrow of our training, understand that we do not pass from joy to joy nor from security to security, but from grief to joy and from trial to security. Thus we must patiently bear brief sorrow, that we may obtain eternal joy; and the light measure of our trial must be endured with readiness, that we may attain the eternal life of great glory.

  - Columbanus, Sermon IV[2]

Columbanus believed in maintaining an active self-watch, both for himself and those who labored with him. It’s why he developed rules of discipline to guide himself, his colleagues, and his students as they grew in the Lord and went in service to Him.

Crosfigell is mailed every Tuesday and Thursday. Subscribe to Crosfigell today (click here to update your subscriptions). Be sure you click each teaching letter you want to receive, (including Pastor to Pastor), and journey with us through our devotional study of this remarkable saint. 

Check out our latest Celtic Legacy podcast to learn how to keep distractions down and focus more consistently on the things that matter most.

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, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Jonas, p. 5.

[2] Walker, pp. 79ff.

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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