Have you ever brought someone new into your circle of friends? Have you ever accepted that someone into your heart? Have you given them your trust, surrendered your time freely, rendered services to them, offered to listen with true patience and compassion, or provided aid at the cost of self-sacrifice?
Our pastor does those things on a daily basis. Rarely does a day go by where he is not spending time counseling, consoling, or caring for someone from his flock. Likewise, our pastor, knowing the worth of each mortal soul, will often come upon someone new, perhaps a lost and unsaved soul, and will offer his time, his ear, and his church.
Now consider a time in your past when a person you cared for so much, someone to whom you had given so much, turned their back on your affection. Consider that time when you lost a close friend, that someone who walked out on your relationship and never came back. How did it make you feel? How well did you cope? How long did you remember them and agonize? Was it fair to you after giving so much? Did the hurt ever really go away?
Imagine now how often this happens to a pastor of a church. Consider how many more times has our pastor faced these same frustrations and letdowns. Remember the many faces you have seen around you in church that now have disappeared; faces that our pastor has greeted, welcomed, and taken into our family. How much more often are his disappointments; how much greater is the accumulating distress? How does our pastor manage to cope? Does he wonder at the pain of being a pastor and shepherd? Does he ponder whether fault lies at his own feet? How many more times can he give freely and lovingly of himself, making himself vulnerable to those with little regard for his sacrifices and his affections?
What does our pastor think when we don’t show up for a week or two? What goes on in his mind and in his heart when he does not hear from us for a month or longer. How much does he hurt when he never sees one from his flock ever again? Suppose that on each and every Sunday evening, you have been showing up at your own mother’s home where she lovingly cooks and feeds you dinner. Now suppose, if you will, that you suddenly stopped showing up. Would your mother worry? Would she wonder? What if she found out that it was your choice to stop coming? Would it break her heart?
Do we ever consider the sacrifices of our pastor when we make our choices in life? Do we consider also our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have also loved us? Do we ever look past our own needs, our own comforts, our own wishes and wants, and the conveniences of our easy lives? If we do not consider our own church family here on earth, how much less do we consider our Father in heaven? Our pastor, who is firmly and completely committed to the calling of our Lord and the great commission of evangelism, needs our prayers. Please also read Luke 15:3-7