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Daily Devotional | Caring for the Sheep

What is a pastor’s main responsibility? “Since the 1960s, we have experienced an evolution in what we expect a local church pastor to be,” wrote J. P. Moreland in Love Your God With All Your Mind. “Forty years ago he was expected to be a resident authority on theology and biblical teaching. Slowly this gave way to a model of the pastor as the CEO of the church, the administrative and organizational leader. Today the ministers we want are Christianized pop therapists who are entertaining to listen to.”

In Scripture, however, a pastor’s main responsibility is to care for the sheep and be examples to the flock (vv. 2–3). The word “pastor” actually comes from the Latin for “shepherd.” Peter’s restoration as an apostle (see yesterday’s reading) led to a lifelong ministry of leading and feeding the sheep, and training others to do so as well. Church leaders were not to use their authority and resources for their own benefit, but for the growth of the church. Good shepherds are truly “servant leaders” (see John 13:13–17).

Peter, who had once thought himself superior to the other disciples, in today’s reading appeals humbly as one elder to another (v. 1). Even though he was an apostle and an eyewitness to the gospel, he didn’t exalt himself over his fellow leaders. He instructed them to serve not out of obligation but with willing and eager hearts. They were not to pursue dishonest gain (see also 2 Peter 2:1–3) or lord it over others. Instead, they should lead the sheep (congregation) in the ways outlined in verses 5–9. They’re to minister in Christ’s grace and power (vv. 10–11), and their reward will be a “crown of glory” from the Chief Shepherd Himself (v. 4)!

>> A pastor’s job can be overwhelming. How can you be helpful to the pastor of your church? Reach out to see if there is a way you can be of assistance, and add your pastor to your prayer list.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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