All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 1 Corinthians 10.23, 24
1 Clement 38
Clement of Rome (fl. ca. 90-100 AD)
“Let our whole body, then, be preserved in Christ Jesus: and let every one be subject to his neighbor, according to the special gift bestowed upon him. Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect unto the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor, and let the poor bless God, because He hath given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by [mere] words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to himself, but leave witness to be borne to him by another. Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence. Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we are made – who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulcher, and from utter darkness.”
Schism and strife arise in churches because we lose sight of our calling to deny ourselves and consider the needs of others first. Jesus gave us the example in John 13, which Paul consistently built on in all his epistles, and Clement surely had in mind as he cited Paul and exhorted the Corinthians in this passage. We are our neighbors’ keepers, and we can only serve them when we humble ourselves before them and the Lord. We are all sheep, and we all need to be shepherded. Nurturing a commitment to, and the skills involved in, one-anothering can help to keep a congregation from becoming ingrown and self-serving. And such a framework of mutual shepherding can also provide a strong context for resolving disputes when these arise, as they did in the churches in Corinth in Clement’s day.
By what means do you assess the state of “one-anothering” in your church? How do you consciously strive to improve this important facet of the life of Christ’s Body?
T. M. Moore
Shepherding in the Christian Worldview
Our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, offers an overview of the work of shepherding, and shows how this disciple-making ministry fits into our overall Kingdom calling. There’s no charge for this course, and all the course materials are free. In 12 diagrams you will gain a perspective and overall grasp of the 1 worldview that can change the world. Click here to register. Here’s a great opportunity for you and your leaders to get on the same page for a vision of the Kingdom that could change your lives and your church.
Personal Discipleship Inventory
Where do you stand in your Christian worldview? How confident are you in your vision of the Christian life? In your use of the disciplines whereby we pursue that vision? In the kinds of Kingdom outcomes you should be realizing in your life. Watch this brief video to learn how taking our Personal Discipleship Inventory can help you establish some baselines and begin to make real progress in your Christian worldview.
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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.