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Pastor to Pastor

Things Weak and High

Look to the Lord and bear your neighbor's burdens.

Shepherding God’s Flock (12)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6.2

In his “unspoken sermon” on loving our neighbors, George MacDonald makes the point that we cannot love our neighbors truly unless we love God supremely. Pressing on and up into deeper intimacy with God is indispensable if we are to love our neighbors enough to bear their burdens with them.

This must be especially true of the shepherds of God’s flock. As Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604) noted in The Book of Pastoral Rule, “The ruler should be a near neighbour to everyone in sympathy, and exalted above all in contemplation, so that through the bowels of lovingkindness he may transfer the infirmities of others to himself, and by loftiness of speculation transcend even himself in his aspiration after the invisible; lest either in seeking high things he despise the weak things of his neighbours, or in suiting himself to the weak things of his neighbours he relinquish his aspiration after high things.”

Shepherds need a lot of time for contemplating the exalted Christ, seeking the face of Jesus and the glory of God revealed there, so that they might have the strength and love to minister to the needs of those in their charge (2 Cor. 4.6). To give ourselves so much to ministry that we neglect contemplation will ultimately not help those we serve. To be merely contemplative, without also living out the kindness and love of Christ, is equally unacceptable. The shepherd must strive to maintain a balance of each.

Improve your time alone with God—reaching for the high and upward things of Christ—and your love for those who are burdened with weakness will be ready and able when needed.

Resources for Shepherds
Focusing on the “things that are above” is not as easy as it seems (Col. 3.1-3). We must train our minds to see the unseen Christ and devote our hearts to desiring to know Him. Two books can help. To Know Him is a sermon in verse on Philippians 3.7-11. It can help you cut some new grooves of contemplation on Jesus, exalted in glory. Learn more and order your free copy by clicking here.

What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? looks more pointedly at Jesus and His eternal reign. Also in verse form, this meditation can sharpen your focus on our glorious King and His Kingdom. Learn more and order your free copy by clicking here.

For some readings in the Celtic Christian vision of Christ, order a free copy of our devotional guide, Be Thou My Vision, by clicking here.

From the Celtic Revival
If you missed last Tuesday’s study in our series on Columbanus, it focused on having the right priorities and how God honors those priorities in our ministry. Here’s an excerpt from Jonas, Columbanus’ biographer, and from a poem by Columbanus to a friend:

“At the news of this, people streamed in from all directions in order to consecrate themselves to the practice of religion, so that the large number of monks scarcely had room. The children of the nobles from all directions strove to come thither; despising the spurned trappings of the world and the pomp of present wealth, they sought eternal rewards.”

  - Jonas, Life of St. Columban[1]

“With countless changes the seasons of life roll on.
All things pass, the months revolve on years;
At every moment age glides to senility.
That you may lawfully apprehend the life eternal,
Now spurn the sweet deceits of transitory life…
A life devoted to vain cares knows not how to keep measure.”

  - Columbanus, “Verses to Hunaldus”[2]

Columbanus certainly knew how to “keep measure.” He was a man of rigorous discipline, as he explained in Sermon IV, and he saw the fruit such discipline can bring throughout the course of his ministry. Our ReVision study on “The Disciplined Life” can be a good resource for leadership development. It’s free, and if you’ll just write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request it, I’ll send it along, together with two assessment tools to use in the study.

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.

If you’d like to learn more about the Celtic Revival (ca. 430-800 AD), order a free copy of our book, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction, by clicking here.
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. 11

[2] Walker, p. 185

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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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