The Work of Shepherds (4)
But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2.4
The Book of Pastoral Rule
Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604)
“Meanwhile it is also necessary for the ruler to keep wary watch, lest the lust of pleasing men assail him; lest, when he studiously penetrates the things that are within, and providently supplies the things that are without, he seek to be beloved of those that are under him more than truth; lest, while supported by his good deeds, he seems not to belong to the world, self-love estrange him from his Maker. For he is the Redeemer’s enemy who through the good works which he does covets being loved by the Church instead of Him…”
Shepherds always face the temptation to want to please the people they serve. We should please them, of course, but only to the extent that our ministry brings them into the presence of Him Who is the fullness of joy and pleasure forever more (Ps. 16.11). We go awry when we bend our efforts and instruction to draw the love of church members principally to ourselves, rather than to God, or when we love their plaudits and complements more than God’s truth. Only the Spirit can bring life to the people of God, and He does so through the ministry of truth, selflessly employed by shepherds seeking nothing more than the edification of God’s flock and the glory of His Name. Do you know how to recognize the signs of man-pleasing?
How do you guard against wanting to be loved more by the people you serve than the Truth by which you serve them?
T. M. Moore
Growing into Christ
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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.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).