“Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.” 2 Corinthians 1:24 (LSB)
Do you have someone dedicated to you personally? Some businesses offer special memberships that provide you with a personal concierge or a dedicated employee to work with you. Have you ever been to some place and thought, “man, it sure would be nice if I had a personal employee to help me find what I need for this project?”
It can be easy to overlook that we have someone dedicated to your spiritual maturity in the church. Not someone that will bow to your every wish, but someone looking out for you. God ordains pastors to be responsible for attending to the spiritual health of individuals in their congregation. They want to help them grow in Christ to see them flourish as they become more holy. Just like a shepherd cares for his sheep physically, pastors want to serve the Lord by spiritually providing for His sheep. As pastors prepare my sermons, they are thinking about how this passage applies specifically to various members of their congregation.
A Pastor Prays
Pastors pray that specific messages would serve as a warning to those young people that are dating and are becoming overly physically intimate. Pastors pray over Bible passages that might encourage that man who lost his job or the lonely young lady. Pastors consider how a text might apply to the family mourning the loss of a matriarch or patriarch.
I have my congregation in mind as I read, study, and pray. No other pastor is doing this for my flock. The well-known well-spoken pastors in different zip codes are not thinking about my sheep. They don’t know them. Sometimes I meet people and ask them who their pastor is. It grieves me when they mention some well know TV preacher. Not because the content is theologically flawed. Or because I think I am a better preacher. But because I know they are not being pastored, not being shepherded. Pastoring is more than just preaching killer sermons; it is about being a laborer for your joy. (2 Corinthians 1:24)
A Pastor Labors
A pastor’s work is to labor for the maturity of his congregation. Paul says it this way.
“Him we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, I also labor, striving according to His working, which He works in me in power.” Colossians 1:28–29 (LSB)
The laboring and striving required of a pastor are for their “completion in Christ” or, put another way, maturity in Christ. Do you have someone working for your growth in Christ? Someone that works week after week to study God’s Word with you in mind? Do you have a pastor that is praying for you? Fasting for you? Or bringing your name before God?
If not, start by finding a church that you can be accountable to and belong to. Look for a church with pastors that will “labor, and strive according to His working, which He works in (them) in power.”