I wrote this many years ago, while on a mission trip in India. I used it to teach children about what a pastor is and does.
Over the years, I’ve come back to it many times. Its simple words remind me of and refresh me in God’s calling.
Perhaps, today, it can be of encouragement to those who share a pastoral call, in whatever specific form that may be.
“Be shepherds of the flock of God.” (Acts 20:28)
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I am a pastor …
If you would ask me who I am, I would answer, “a pastor.”
To be a pastor means to be a shepherd.
To be a shepherd means to care for sheep…
to attend to their births,
to cleanse and groom them, to see that they are well fed,
to tend to them when they are hurt or sick,
to go ahead of them, seeking clean sources of food and water, to rescue them from difficulties,
to guard them from predators and fight off attackers; to seek and find them when they wander off,
to provide a calming presence when they are in frightening situations,
to remove them from the comfort of sheepfold at times, and lead them out into open places,
to gather them together again and lead them back to their warm, familiar home,
to understand the unique characteristics of each sheep — where each one is weak and where each is strong — so that I might give the entire flock wise and sensitive care.
to set them on their feet again when they fall and cannot right themselves; to put up and maintain fences to protect them and keep them from going astray,
to see to their health and nurture them toward maturity, so that they can reproduce and bring forth lambs,
to help them adapt to and flourish in the different seasons and circumstances of life,
to remember, mourn, and bury them when they die.
I am a pastor. I take care of sheep.
In return, they nourish me, warm me, and keep me company on bright days and through dark nights.
They are my friends.
With them, I follow a greater Shepherd, who does all this and more for me as well as them. God equips me to serve my flocks as an under-shepherd, and I am generously rewarded.
I do what I do for my Shepherd’s pleasure, for the increase of his honor, and for the well being of the ones he created and loves forever.
God is the Shepherd of us all, and in him we have no wants.