Pastoral Vision (2)
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16.13, 14
In the most general sense, Scripture separates the soul into three interconnected, overlapping, and interacting components: the mind, the heart, and the conscience. The mind deals with the work of thinking, the heart with affections, and the conscience with values, priorities, and the will. This is only analogy, of course, because the soul, being a spiritual essence, is one unity with three functions—the very image of the triune God.
I find it interesting the way Solomon works to unify the components of the soul, especially the mind and heart, to foster and express the unity that exists there. Thus, he often refers to what we would think of as a function of the mind—thinking, planning, etc.—as being done by the heart (cf. Prov. 16.9; 18.15; 23.7, 12). Nurturing a vision for life, ministry, and the church, would seem to be a mind thing; but if we follow Solomon’s teaching, we won’t have much vision if it’s not a matter of the heart as well, and from a heart set firmly and expansively on God.
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) agrees: “To face the enemies of truth, to defend the bulwarks of the faith, to rule well in the house of God, to comfort all that mourn, to edify the saints, to guide the perplexed, to bear with the forward, to win and nurse souls—all these and a thousand other works beside are not for a Feeble-mind or a Ready-to-halt, but are reserved for the Great-heart whom the Lord has made strong for Himself.” (Lectures to My Students).
The people we shepherd will know what’s in our heart by the vision we pursue, the energy we invest in building the Church, the gentleness—yet firmness—with which we care for them, the intensity of our disciple-making, the fervor of our preaching, and the consistency of our evangelism. It takes a great heart from God to accomplish such works infectiously, and God stands ready to grant such a heart to those who seek Him for it. But it takes a great and growing vision of God, and daily immersion in that vision, to gain the heart for God that ministry requires.
A great-hearted vision of God will yield a great-hearted vision for ministry. We must seek both.
Resources for Shepherds
What’s in a genealogy? If you’re like most of us, you probably skim through the genealogies of Scripture. But there’s a lot in there, as I have discovered over years of meditating on Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. I’m posting my notes through the years on the Resources for Shepherds page, beginning here. A genealogy is a thing of beauty, as Matthew shows us.
From the Celtic Revival
Patrick lived a circumspect life, in all his dealings being careful not to transgress against the Lord. He was especially careful about this when it came to matters of gifts and money:
And it is true,
though I lack any skill, I’ve tried to do
all that I could to guard myself in all
my dealings, so that none could ever call
me greedy. Even with the brethren and
the virgins of the Lord I took a stand
that I would not receive the gifts that they
would give to me. At times they’d even lay
them on the altar; I returned them all,
no matter if the gifts were great or small.
And so, not understanding why I did
this, they became offended. But I bid
you understand, I hoped eternity
to gain, and so I labored hard to be
a man of full integrity in all
my dealings, being careful not to fall
into temptation, lest the pagans should
some pretext have to denigrate my good
episcopate and to disparage me.
- Patrick, Confession
Here is yet another reason why these leaders of the Celtic Revival have so much to teach us. You can follow Patrick’s story by subscribing to Crosfigell. Update your subscriptions or start a new one by clicking here.
Want to learn about more of the great leaders of the Celtic Revival? You can download the PDF of our book, Lives of Irish Saints, by clicking here.
T. M. Moore
Support for Pastor to Pastor comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.
And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a 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.