Shepherding God’s Flock (13)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3.16, 17
Times will come in the work of shepherding God’s flock when a shepherd has to confront one who is in the wrong. We must not shy away from this duty, and we must not become defensive when such efforts are rightly directed toward us.
The Word of God is given to us for reproof and correction. This suggests both that we will need to use it in this way, and that the end of such efforts will be further equipping for good works. All correction and reproof, therefore, must be unto some specific increase in Christlikeness.
Gregory the Great understood this and urged the shepherds under his pastoral oversight to think first about those they must correct, that they may always do so with humility and love: “Supreme rule, then, is ordered well, when he who presides lords it over vices, rather than over his brethren. But, when superiors correct their delinquent subordinates, it remains for them anxiously to take heed how far, while in right of their authority they smite faults with due discipline, they still, through custody of humility, acknowledge themselves to be on a par with the very brethren who are corrected; although for the most part it is becoming that in our silent thought we even prefer the brethren whom we correct to ourselves” (Book of Pastoral Rule).
We must not reprove or correct in an imperious and domineering way; rather, by loving our neighbors as ourselves, we will approach them with humility and encouragement, looking not so much to indict a shortcoming as to reveal a path to fuller growth in the Lord.
Resources for Shepherds
Men, we're pleased to announce the following reading groups for this fall:
The Lewis Group will be reading and discussing The Great Divorce. We will meet every other Friday at 3pm Eastern, beginning September 8. Reading and discussion guides will be provided. The Lewis Group is led by Charlie Hammett and T. M. Moore.
On alternating Fridays at 3pm Eastern, beginning September 15, Ralph Elmerick and T. M. Moore will lead a discussion of Robert Banks' outstanding study, Paul's Idea of Community. Be sure you order the third edition of this classic work. We’ll provide the reading and discussion guides.
From the Celtic Revival
Thursday’s Crosfigell will deal with the need for reproof and correction. We’ll see how Columbanus practiced these disciplines in a most significant way. Here is Jonas’ report and an excerpt from one of the works of Columbanus:
But he [Columbanus] remained some time with the king, and called his attention to several abuses, such as could hardly fail to exist at a king’s court. Chlotar promised to correct everything according to Columban’s command, for he zealously loved wisdom, and rejoiced in the blessing which he had secured.
- Jonas, Life of St. Columban
What profit the gifts of princes? Or the banquets of a rich table?
What delight shall there be in remembering the joys of past life,
When finally the closure of the last age has come?
He who, while life flies, meditates these with watchful mind,
Scorns avarice and avoids empty honours.
And why to apply their minds to earthly cares
Do mortals wish? Why follow filthy gains?
- Columbanus, “Verses of St. Columban to Sethus”
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).
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.
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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.
 Jonas, p. 29
 Walker, p. 189