A Pastor’s Heart…

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – “(v 2a)

Some Thoughts…

   Peter gives us his humble example of leadership as he encourages Church leaders to lead like Jesus.  He doesn’t elevate himself above those who care for God’s people, but instead he comes along-side us as a “fellow elder” (v 1), one who has experienced the leading and shepherding of Jesus and followed His call. And so the great apostle calls those who will lead to an “other-worldly” way of leading.

   As one who has been called to serve God’s Church, I find this passage to be of personal interest. But before I dive into my calling, I’m stopped by an overwhelming truth…God has trusted me enough to stand in the gap between the “Chief Shepherd” and His flock – Jesus has placed me in a position to look after His people – not all of them, just those entrusted (v 3) to me, just God’s flock that is under “my care” (v 2).  What a privilege and a responsibility …God saw fit to use me this way, and unlike Peter, I don’t feel qualified to even be called a “fellow elder”.  (Elder in the Greek here in this passage is “presbyteros” – from which we get our word, “presbytery”, a term used to recognize Pastors in the early church (See 1 Corinthians 4:1).  So, how is a pastor to lead?

   The answer to that question takes us to the fields of Palestine; A Pastor leads like a shepherd would lead his flock; he is always looking for safe pastures, rescuing strays from snares, feeding them, spending hours and hours with his flock…living among his appointed herd as one worth following in order to have a sustainable life…So how does one do that?  Well, Peter gives us three contrasting ideas that help pastors understand their role in the Kingdom:

1)     Willingness not obligatory: A pastor must have a willing heart that is not forced to serve God and His people.  We don’t serve because we have to, but because we want to. Sense the days of Isaiah, God has calling for willing servants; ones that would respond like the great prophet, “Here am I, send me!”  A pastor must serve out of love not compulsion.

2)     An eager servant not a greedy opportunist: A pastor must approach his duties with an eagerness to serve those God has called him to care for with little regard for himself – not with some underlying motivation for personal gain, public accolades, or monetary prosperity. God is looking for willing servants who is not greater than his Master and would echo the words of John the Baptizer when he said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” A pastor must be willing to make sacrifices to serve those God has called him to shepherd.

3)     A model of Christ-likeness never a dictator: A shepherding pastor must always strive to set the example of faithful living in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 4:12-16). God forbid that we would ever appear like some kind of “do as I say, not as I do” dictator…God calls us to a holy life so that when others look our way, they can see Jesus – at least a faint representation that will point their faith to the ONE TRUE CHIEF SHEPHERD, Who is coming again soon…I’m called to care for folk until Jesus returns, so that is what I must do.

“They are not the pastor’s people, but God’s people.”  (Swindoll)

A Prayer…

Father, make me a faithful servant, living full of your Spirit so that I can have the endurance I need to have the watchful care and diligence of any good shepherd that cares for his flock…I recognize they belong to You…and You have trusted me with Your most important possession.  So help me be consistent and true to Your Word as I feed and shepherd Your sheep until You return.  Amen.