Ministry is draining, and at the same time deeply satisfying. It is draining, emotionally and spiritually, because the burdens of the flock weigh heavily on devoted shepherds. It is deeply satisfying, because shepherds are privileged to be welcomed into people’s lives and see God work in significant ways.
When I stand to preach each week, my mind is on the message at hand. I want to faithfully discharge my duty to preach the Word, in season and out of season. Yet I am also thinking of the people I am preaching to. I am thinking about the families that are struggling, people who are facing health crises, senior adults who are frail and aging, students that are preparing to launch into college and adulthood, and on and on it goes.
When the family of God gathers, there are as many situations and needs, as there are people. We encounter people one on one, and many of them have things they want to share with us as their shepherd serving in the church. Why is this so? Because we represent the Good Shepherd. As we serve Him, we care for souls, because He cares for souls. We want to point people to Him to meet their ultimate needs.
Never forget that ministry is not about the activity, or the presentation, it is about serving people as we serve God. When we get to Heaven some day and stand before the Lord, He is not going to ask us how our worship set flowed, or a thousand other little things we can get caught up in, with the week to week activities of ministry. God will hold us accountable, for how we have cared for the souls of the people He has entrusted to us.
Have we shared the Gospel diligently? Have we preached the Word accurately, and consistently? Have we helped people walk in holiness and shown them the path of a disciple, so they become more and more like Jesus? Have we carried the burdens of others and encouraged the family of God to do the same? Have we loved the broken, and bound up the wounded?
The care of souls is a serious matter. Understand the high calling God has placed on your life. Seek to live out the calling in a way that honors God and brings glory to Him. Every soul is precious in the sight of God. There is an admonishment for the people of God in Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Let’s keep watch well over their souls, and make it easy for the people of God to submit to our leadership as we serve Christ.