The Love of Men

The shepherd's greatest stumbling-block.

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
Our Pastor to Pastor series, Growing into Christ, is now available as a free PDF, set up for a series of 28 morning and evening readings, meditations, and prayers. A free copy awaits you by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Here’s a tool you can use for your own growth, and in leading others to grow into Christ and live in Him.

The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.

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).

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 Essex Junction, VT. 

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