The Work of Shepherds (3)
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it springthe issues of life. Proverbs 4.23
The Book of Pastoral Rule
Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604)
“The ruler should not relax his care for the things that are within in his occupation among the things that are without, nor neglect to provide for the things that are without in his solicitude for the things that are within; lest either, given up to the things that are without, he fall away from his inmost concerns, or, occupied only with things that are within, bestow not on his neighbours outside himself what he owes them.”
This advice applies both to our own growth and ministry, as we saw in an earlier excerpt, and to what we seek to nurture in others as well. Frequently, we might think that getting someone through some program, so that he gains some outward skill or ability or qualification, is what matters most. But without the inner strength to deny himself and take up the work of ministry, his outer skills won’t be worth the effort he made to acquire them. And if we neglect to direct the flock in specific outward ways of loving one another, all their inner growth will be consumed on themselves and without abiding fruit. The more we work at this in our own lives, the more we will insist, encourage, and lead those we serve to do the same. As Paul explained, practicing an ongoing self-watch can benefit both us and those we serve (1 Tim. 4.16).
How do you determine whether the people you serve are growing inwardly? In their personal ministries?
T. M. Moore
Fan into Flame
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.All quotations are from Gregory,The Book of Pastoral Rule,in Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 12(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1895, 1995).