If you are a Christian it is my prayer that you are part of a biblical community, a local church, where there is a shepherd or several shepherds who have taken seriously the call by God to provide you with pastoral care. This pastoral care should, in its very essence, be a clear communication of how the Gospel of Jesus applies to whatever situation or circumstance you find yourself.
At all times the guidance should be for your good and God’s glory. If a pastor is doing right by God, the pastor will consider himself a messenger and not an editor (2 Corinthians 4:2) of God’s word. If your pastor is honest with you even if the truth has a little sting to it, your pastor cares.
The counsel you receive may be encouraging and uplifting and at other times the counsel may step on your toes a bit. Either way, if you have a shepherd who loves you, the counsel is Godly and right and biblical. This is the very best type of shepherding you can have. If this type of shepherding describes what you have in your life, I encourage you to thank God for that gift. Many people around the world are not privileged to have this sort of counsel. Some preachers manipulate and hurt people in the name of God while others feed people sugar in order to attract a large following. There is a proper and healthy way to convey the truths of God’s word in love and if this is familiar to you, you are blessed.
What you may not realize is that God gives the the local church pastor some powerful incentive to loving you and guiding you. Check out what we find in the book of James:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. - James 3:1
If your pastor is willing to be judged more strictly in order to bring you God’s word, your pastor cares.
What a sobering thought. God will judge with greater strictness those who teach on behalf of God. As a pastor, I take the weight of this truth to heart. In talking to many of my friends who are also pastors I know that they too take the teaching of God’s word seriously. You see, if your pastor takes seriously the Word of God, then your pastor views shepherding you a joy as well as a responsibility. God expects teachers and preachers to lead with a “Thus saith the Lord” approach. We are to be held accountable for being the gracious, loving and truthful mouthpiece of God.
“That Sounds Like My Pastor”:
If you do have a pastor who gives good and godly counsel from scripture, do all you can to make their job a blessing and not a burden (Hebrews 13:17) and make sure that you tell them all of the good that comes from their biblical wisdom (Galatians 6:6).
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. – Galatians 6:6
Essentially God encourages us to thank those who do right by Him and you in their application of His word. They are held to a higher account and they can become discouraged. People will want them to twist the word of God in order to please itching ears:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions – 2 Timothy 4:3
If your pastor tells the truth and avoids trying to itch the ears of everyone in the congregation, your pastor cares.
If you have a great shepherd who gives you godly counsel and rightly divides God’s word, celebrate them as a blessing and honor them by making their investment into your life as joyful as it can be. After all, your pastor cares.