I guess it’s because I served as a “pastor” for many years that I admire spiritual leaders who authentically exhibit and exemplify a “pastor’s heart” so much! The fact is, anyone who has ever experienced authentic “pastoral ministry” has a deep appreciation for this important “gift” God has given His Church (cp. Ephesians 4:11-13). I’m not talking about a pastoral model that seeks primarily to be the church’s CEO or COO… but one who functions as a spiritual “shepherd” – leading and caring for “the flock of God!”
Paul, in the New Testament, although an “apostle”, exhibited a “pastor’s heart!” I read about it this morning during “coffee with the Lord”…
“Since we were torn away from you for a short time, in person, not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face… For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? You are our glory and joy! Therefore, when we could bear it no longer…we sent Timothy [Paul’s protégé – the young man Paul mentored], our brother and God’s coworker in the Gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by the afflictions they are facing… When I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” (from I Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:5)
There it is – the “heart of a pastor!”: Caring! Concerned! And checking up on the spiritual welfare of those he leads! Listen, if you have been fortunate enough… No, I better change that… If you’ve been blessed by God to have such a spiritual leader you know their value! Pray for them! Express your appreciation for them (both verbally and in tangible ways). And most of all, respond to their leadership, for they “keep watch over your soul” (cp. Hebrews 13:7, 17)!