Friday, June 8, 2012

Shepherds Should Care... A Lot!

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? — 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 (ESV)

If you're a pastor and you don't care, quit. Look at the list of things that Paul had gone through as he followed Jesus:

  • 5 times he was flogged
  • 3 times beaten with rods
  • 1 time he was stoned 
  • 3 times he was shipwrecked
  • Traveled frequently
  • In danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, Gentiles, the city, the wilderness, the sea, and false brothers
  • Worked hard and faced trials
  • Experienced sleepless nights
  • Experienced hunger and thirst, often going without food
  • Experienced the pain of the elements.
This is quite the list, and yet he is the same person who later says: "... I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).

How does he do it? How does he boast in weakness, learning to be content in any and every situation (see Philippians 4:11-13)?

I believe that at the very heart of Paul is his love relationship with Jesus. As noted above in chapter 12, he boasted in all of the crisis and catastrophe that he had faced for the sake of Christ. He loved Jesus. And that is the key to everything. That love affair with the Creator and Sustainer of all things (see Colossians 1:15ff) is most definitely to be the priority of all in our lives, but that will result in our hearts breaking, hurting, celebrating, and rejoicing over the very same things that his does.

Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 how he faced the anxiety that came every day over the churches. He wanted to see the Christians that he was given the opportunity and privilege to minister to experience Christ's plan and not get tripped up by the sin around them. He worried over them because he wanted God's best for them. He was affected by their choices. He was not pastoring because of the next book deal or an opportunity to preach from a pulpit with thousands of adoring fans there to listen (and please understand that there is nothing wrong with writing books or preaching from pulpits). Rather, he pastored his flock because Jesus called him to the ministry in that way and gave him a pastor's heart after his very own. The reason behind his shepherding was Christ, and his heart was filled with love and concern for the flock that Jesus had called him to.

So, if you're a pastor and you don't care about your flock, quit. If you don't care about your flock then you are not a pastor anyway.

So hurt for them. Hurt with them. Be concerned and anxious over them because of the fact that you love them. And then constantly entrust them to Jesus to be transformed by him.


No comments:

Post a Comment