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Pastor to Pastor

Humble and Heavenly Minded

A shepherd's view of himself.

Pastoral Vision (6)

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5.2-4

No small part of the vision that motivates the shepherds of the Lord and guides their work is how they see themselves.

The shepherds excoriated by the Lord in Ezekiel 34.1-6 envisioned themselves as the primary end of their calling. They saw themselves as being served and enriched at the expense of the sheep, to such an extent that they abused their flocks and allowed the sheep to wander into dangerous places.

God’s response to such shepherding was to remove His sheep from their oversight (v. 10). Obviously, the shepherds of God’s flock need a different vision.

Jonathan Edwards can help us here: “The ministers of Christ should be persons of the same spirit that their Lord was of: the same spirit of humility and lowliness of heart; for the servant is not greater than his Lord. They should be of the same spirit of heavenly-mindedness and contempt of the glory, wealth, and pleasures of this world: they should be of the same spirit of devotion and fervent love to God: they should follow the example of His prayerfulness; of whom we read from time to time of His retiring from the world, away from the noise and applauses of the multitudes, into mountains and solitary places, for secret prayer, and holy converse with his Father…” (Christ the Example of Ministers).

Christ came as a servant, His mind fixed unswervingly on His Father and His Father’s will, and His back bent daily to meet the needs of those around Him. No one can be said to be following Christ Who does not assume this same posture and focus. God has called shepherds to serve His flock by the example of their humility and heavenly mindedness, just as Jesus did. We must not allow the cheap thrills of worldly attention or rewards to influence the work and business we do in the name of the Lord.

If this is our vision of the work to which God has called us, we will feed the Lord’s sheep with the solid food of His Word, defend them against the wiles of the devil and the allurements of the world, and lead them ever deeper into the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit, seeking nothing for ourselves but only the glory of God.

Resources for Shepherds
Visit our bookstore to download a free PDF copy of our most recent book, Colum Cille: A Devotional History. This great 6th-century saint has much to teach us about caring for the flocks of the Lord. In thirty daily installments, we’ll get inside Colum’s vision and see how that played out in the work God gave him to do.

Men, our March Kingdom Conversation will be on the topic, “Practicing the Kingship of Jesus.” This is what the pagans in Thessalonica insisted the Christians were doing. They didn’t “practice” the faith everyone else did, whether of the ancient gods or in the cult of the emperor. They “practiced” Jesus as King. And they turned their world rightside-up for Him (Acts 17.1-8). Are we practicing the Kingship of Jesus? Our guide for this Conversation (though it is not required) is my book, The Kingship of Jesus (you can order a copy by clicking here). We’ll be gathering on Thursday, March 28, at 8:00 pm Eastern. You can sign up by sending me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’ll send you some questions and exercises to work on in preparation for the Conversation. Limited to 18 men, so don’t wait to sign up.

Our book, Fan into Flame, can help you evaluate the state of your own vision for ministry. The focus of this study is on the framework, function, and fruit of pastoral ministry. It includes a variety of assessment tools that can help you sharpen your vision for ministry. Order your copy by clicking here or download a free PDF version by clicking here.

From the Celtic Revival
Patrick was led in ministry by his vision of Jesus. Sechnall explains the controlling power of that vision on the work Patrick did:

Tirelessly he feeds the faithful with heavenly feasts,
lest those who are seen with Christ should fail upon the way:
he gives them the words of the Gospel like loaves,
multiplied in his hands like manna.

He keeps his flesh chaste for love of the Lord,
flesh which he has prepared as a temple for the Holy Spirit
(by whom it is constantly moved to pure deeds),
and which he offers to the Lord as a pleasing living sacrifice.

He is the light of the world, the great burning light of the Gospel,
raised aloft on a candlestick, illuminating the whole age;
the fortified city of a king, set atop a mountain,
in which there is great abundance of the Lord’s possessions.

 - Sechnall, Audite Omnes Amantes[1]

You can follow the remaining installments in Patrick’s story by subscribing to Crosfigell. Update your subscriptions or start a new one by clicking here. Soon we will begin a Crosfigell series on the high crosses of Ireland. Hope you’ll join us.

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. For an overview of the Celtic Revival, download the PDF book, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction (click 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.


[1] All quotes are from John Carey, tr. and ed., King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998), pp. 147ff.

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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