Abel, Rachel, Moses and David were one; Jesus says He is the Good and Chief One. So, what are we looking at today? Shepherds! They figure prominently in Scripture, and October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. It seemed the perfect time to consider shepherds. Often Social Media posts laud the work of pastors, extolling their effort and long hours. Those posts fail to honor the true depth of the work. Pastoring cannot be measured in hours or effort. Many people work hard; in fact, every Christian is admonished to work heartily. Simple hard work is not the point. The Glory of the work of a shepherd is what ought to command our respect and attention.
The work of the Shepherd involves nourishing, nurturing and protecting the flock. In the field, the shepherd led the flock to food and water, guarded them from predators and even carried the weaker ones. In scriptural times, the sheep represented wealth, providing the people with food, clothing, hides, and sacrificial offerings. Today, the flock is the very body of Christ, providing a lost and dying world with riches from the Kingdom of Heaven. The work of the local shepherd is modeled upon The Shepherd…therein is its weighty glory.
‘Pastor’ is a transliteration of the Latin word for shepherd. The shepherds and overseers of local churches, the pastors, are to model their service after the Chief Shepherd. He is a daunting role model. When Christ is the Shepherd, there is no lack on the part of the sheep. The Psalmist said the shepherd carefully guides his sheep to safe and plentiful places. Isaiah proclaimed, ‘He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.’ Those in the care of the shepherd are guided, nourished and love by he life of he shepherd. Finally, Jesus Himself gave his very life for the lost sheep of the world. Those Pastors who emulate The Great Shepherd are more than worthy of our honor…and not just in October for Pastor Appreciation month.
Pastoring is not a job a man chooses; it is a responsibility received from God Himself, that is then confirmed by the flock. Celebrating the work of our pastors is not about the long hours or hard work of a ‘job.’ Celebrating our pastors honors the work of Christ Himself and the willingness of one who accepts such a monumental responsibility from the King of Kings. Celebrating our pastors builds the Kingdom. Whether you invite the pastor to a meal, send a card or create a church-wide celebration is not the point any more than the pastor’s hours of work are the point. Act out of thankfulness for the Great Shepherd. If you would like some ideas to stimulate your thinking, simply google ‘Pastor Appreciation’ or visit Pinterest.