‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ John 10:11 NIV (2011 Edition)
Sometimes pastors hide behind their busy schedules to avoid having to say ‘no’ to people. Jesus knew when to get involved, and when not to. Learn from Him. You’ll never be able to respond effectively if you feel obligated to meet every need all the time. And God’s not asking you to. He only expects you to respond to what He sends your way. One pastor says: ‘I’ll never forget my guidance counsellor’s face when she heard I was going into the ministry. “But you don’t even like people!” she exclaimed. I remember thinking, “So what? Ministry’s about preaching and leading a congregation to greater heights. I don’t have to worry about individuals.” But that’s a myth. We dare not become so programme-focused that we flee from the next person God sends our way. I’m amazed how far bureaucracies will go to make systemic change, rather than making an exception that would easily fix the problem. Personal needs are too significant to commit to the rigidity of any programme. Some of us think the problem with handling needs personally is that they can multiply like rabbits. Plus, programmes exist to prevent you from becoming overwhelmed, right? Wrong! The “ministry myth” that says, “What you do for one you must do for all,” is a recipe for burnout.’ Jesus spent much of His time ministering to individual needs. And He said, ‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ But in order to do that you must make room in your life for the unexpected.