The pastor is to serve as an under-shepherd, caring for the “flock of God,” which is the church. He serves under the authority of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. His service is not to be motivated by vainglory, power, nor riches. Yet, he is to rely on the Lord who called him to also provide for him and his family from the work of shepherding. His ultimate motivation is to stay busy with kingdom work, while looking for the Chief Shepherd’s appearing. For on that Day, he will “receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
As I look back on 26 years as a pastor, it has been the awareness that I work for Jesus as an under-shepherd, that the church is His flock, not mine, and that my reward is in His hand, that has sustained me. I have often felt as Isaiah did about my work as a shepherd, but just as he did, I have been encouraged by the Lord’s promise:
“I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.” – Isa. 49:4