One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing pastors say, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.”
Pastor: People ARE your ministry!
After Christ’s resurrection, He wanted to help restore Peter. Jesus asked Peter a simple question, “Do you love Me?” When Peter acknowledged that he did, Jesus gave Peter a way to show it: “Feed My sheep.” I believe this exchange is what Peter had in mind when he penned the words,
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)
Is it hard to be a shepherd? Yes.
Are some sheep difficult to shepherd? Yes.
Is it worth it to shepherd them? Yes, yes, YES!!
I love Oswald Chambers’ insight on this:
“Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: some that are unkempt and dirty, some that are awkward or pushy, and some that have gone astray! But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions—I have to feed His sheep.”
Jesus, increase my capacity to love Your sheep. All of Your sheep—the ones that bite; the ones that are nice; the ones that are untidy; the ones that are clean; the ones that are thankful; the ones that are ungrateful; the ones that “get it”; the ones that don’t. All of YOUR sheep. Thank You, Lord, for the supreme honor and heavy responsibility of serving as Your under-shepherd.
UPDATE: This idea of pastors as shepherds is what drove me to write my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. I hope you will pick up a copy today!
March 17, 2012 at 9:27 am
“So ‘pastor’ remains the most accurate term. The objection that it means ‘shepherd’, and that sheep and shepherds are irrelevant in the bustling cities of the twentieth century, can best be met by recalling that the Lord Jesus called himself ‘the Good Shepherd’, that even city-dwelling Christians will always think of him as such, and that pastoral ministry (with its characteristics of intimate knowledge, sacrifice, leadership, protection and care) remains the permanent model for all pastors.” ~John R.W. Stott