Paul as Pastor
These last chapters find Paul a main character. Here we see him as a pastor. Sheep need shepherds. We are not talking about popes or potentates, but pastors. One of the most important aspects of this gift and ministry is one of “exhortation” (v.2). There is not a single person in the flock that would not benefit from exhortation at this very moment. This is the ministry of encouragement. Discouragement is not only an element in Satan’s Periodic Table, it is one of his favorite weapons. Encouragement trumps discouragement. Find a group of discouraged believers and you have found sheep without a shepherd.
We need courage to face the challenges of the enemy. Bad things happen. The accident with Eutychus was tragic. Paul met it with as much grace as he did faith. It is in such times that the saints need those with maturity of faith who encourage us to “trouble not yourselves.”
A pastor is one who “serves the Lord with humility of mind,” and sometimes with many tears (19). A pastor is someone who “keeps back nothing.” The hireling or the popular guest speaker will rarely rebuke, correct, or scold the children of God. That is for parents and for pastors to do. A parent will tell a child to “mind your manners,” and a pastor will admonish one to “mend his ways.” A pastor-less flock is as alarming as a parentless home.
We are not talking about “clergy.” We are talking about someone loving, caring, and tending the flock because God asked him to. Every flock needs shepherds or “overseers.”
A real pastor never seeks to have a following more than he desires people to follow the Lord Jesus who “purchased” the church with His own blood. A real pastor warns as much as warms the lambs. He is aware and vigilant to the fact that there are “wolves” everywhere. More than his own life, the pastor cares for the sheep.