As we continue through Second Corinthians, we see Paul beginning to do some boasting. He felt the need to undermine the boasting of those who were simply masquerading as apostles of Christ.
This is a long section, so I don’t have the space to quote it all here. You may want to read 2 Corinthians 11:16-12:6 before continuing. Remember, this epistle was inspired by the Holy Spirit. He must have wanted Paul to record these events for our encouragement in our struggles.
It’s amazing when you see all the difficulties that Paul had to endure. That’s especially true when we realize that his imprisonment and shipwreck (in the book of Acts) is still ahead of him.
In spite of all these challenges, there’s something that sets him apart from the false ministers. It’s his care for the churches under him.
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
2 Corinthians 11:28-29
This is the mark of a true minister. It’s also something that the normal church member will never understand. That’s the burden of ministry.
Most people look at the daily life of a pastor and say, “That’s a pretty easy job. You get to study or visit people all day. Then you make a speech on Sunday. No problems.”
People think like that and never see the other side. When a true pastor – a shepherd – sees his or her congregation, there’s an unseen burden that comes with it.
They see individuals that need to be cared for, healed, fed spiritually, and protected. Many times those that are hurting are fighting against the very thing that will help them the most. A true pastor is burdened by things that a large percentage of people will never know.
So often when a member is struggling with sickness or tragedy, the pastor feels helpless. I sometimes feel inferior only being able to listen to them and say, “I’m praying for you.” I could sometimes wish that God would give us a super-power that could miraculously wipe away every problem our people face.
Then there’s the sin problem. It happens when our people are led into the wrong areas. The word Paul uses here means to be trapped, like an animal in a snare.
So often I could see the choices one of my people was making. I knew exactly where it would lead them. I’ve even tried to lovingly warn them about it.
Too often I’ve heard the words, “I know what you’re saying, Pastor, but that won’t happen to me. I know what I’m doing.” Then, months or years later, they need help and spiritual counsel to put their lives back together.
No, I’m not complaining about it. These things come with the territory of being a minister of Christ. I tell you about them so that you’ll be faithful in praying for your leaders. In that way, we’ll all benefit from a strong healthy ministry.
Question: How often do you pray specifically for your pastor and church leadership?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi