Saturday, September 26, 2009

George Herbert, Country Parson

Izaak Walton, the patron saint of fishing, wrote a beautiful biography of his friend, George Herbert, who served a minister in a small village (Bemerton, England), until his life was cut short.

Herbert's life was a candle, buring bright for Christ.

As a young man, he desired a place in the courts of the King - -and was on the fast track towards such a royal position during the reign of King James.

God had other plans for George, however -- and selected him to serve in HIS court -- The Court of THE King of kings.

George served a small parish, St. Andrew's Church at Bemerton with gladness and wholehearted enthusiasm, demonstrating the love of Christ in all his doings. He considered his small town ministry the most important mission on earth.

He wrote a wonderful book on pastoral work called The Country Parson which is packed with excellent advice for ministers who serve in small places (or large places for that matter.)

I few quotes from Herbert:
"In God and His service is fullness of joy and pleasure."

During a serious illness: "Lord, abate my great affliction or increase my patience."

Here's the best one: "I am bound, so far as it is in my power, to practice what I pray for."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"He considered his small town ministry the most important mission on earth."
It was the most important mission on earth. Each individual we encounter in our lives is our most important mission. Who knows how many persons we have influenced as the 'ripples in the water' go out from our encounter with that one individual? Each of us should search our hearts and make sure we have never discouraged one individual in his/her love for God.

"for ministers who serve in small places (or large places for that matter.)" There are no small places in God's ministry. Being involved in some theater, I have always used the phrase, "There are no small parts." It is only small if the actor/minister sees it that way.

Peter Webster said...

Greetings from Bemerton, and thanks for the link. As you will have seen from our site, George Herbert's ministry is still very much remembered and celebrated here, even though we are no longer a "small place".

One minor observation, if I may. It cannot be said that George Herbert was Izaak Walton's friend - as Walton himself says in the biography, they never met and he had only ever seen him once at Herbert's mother's funeral, at which John Donne preached. But it is easy to get the impression of greater familiarity from the biography because of the way Walton writes.

Keep up the good work.