A shepherd who will not warn, correct or discipline the sheep is not a good shepherd at all. Love is willing to discipline when it is needed (Heb 12:5-7).
E. Warnings To Pastors
God knows that those whom He has called as pastors will face special temptations and testings. They have the same human weaknesses common to us all. For this reason, God has given certain warnings to His under-shepherds:
- A pastor must not neglect or overlook his own spiritual growth (Jer 2:8; I Tim 4:15,16).
So often, people in leadership are ruled by their busy schedules. It is easy for them to neglect their personal relationship with the Lord (Acts 6:2-4). Pastors must spend time with the Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus.
Pastors become the targets of Satanic attack. And if the shepherd is struck down, the sheep will be scattered. Therefore, pastors themselves need the protection that only the presence of the Lord can bring (Zech 13:7;Matt 26:31).
- A pastor must not work for personal gain (lTim 3:3; lPet 5:2). When Jesus warned of false shepherds in John 10:1-13, He made use of three interesting words: thieves, robbers and hirelings.
a. A thief steals in sly, hidden ways.
b. A robber steals by force and violence.
c. A hireling is one who is paid for his work, but cares little for the sheep. He will be quick to leave without finishing his job.
In each of the three cases above, money and greed is the motive – and the result is a great loss to the flock.
- A pastor must not seek after worldly power (Ezek 34:4; Luke 22:24-27;l Pet 5:3).
Sadly, some people think that the ministry of a pastor is a way to rule over others. They want to be in a position of power and authority.
It is true that a pastor is in a position of spiritual authority. But it is first and foremost a position of great responsibility and humble service. A true pastor will seek to serve rather than control others.
- A pastor must not overdrive the sheep (Gen 33:13). A leader must be ahead of those he leads. Therefore, God has given him gifts of insight, and abilities to readily apply new truth. He quickly and gladly responds.
Sometimes it is difficult for a pastor to understand why others don’t respond as quickly and eagerly as he does. A shepherd must be patient with his sheep. He needs to lead them at a pace that they can follow. If he doesn’t, many will be left behind and some will be left out altogether.
- A pastor must maintain biblical family priorities (Eph 5:25). It is very important that any pastor or elder, and the members of his/her flock, remember God’s order of priorities. The pastor’s personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ should be the first and highest priority in life. Jesus is the source of true spiritual life, and without Him “we can do nothing” of value in life or ministry (John 15:5).
The next priority is the pastor’s responsibility to his family. God is very concerned with how a pastor or elder relates to his/ her spouse or children. It is the direct command of Jesus that a husband must love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for Her (Eph 5:25). A husband’s love for his wife must be faithful and sacrificial. For a woman, her priority must be to honor and love her husband, and to love their children (Eph 5:33; Titus 2:4). When these priorities are kept first, then the leader can minister to others.