Jeremiah 3:12-16Amplified Bible
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north [where the ten tribes have been taken as captives] and say,
‘Return, faithless Israel,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not [a]look on you in anger.
For I am gracious and merciful,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not be angry forever.
‘Only understand fully and acknowledge your wickedness and guilt,
That you have rebelled (transgressed) against the Lord your God
And have scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.
‘Return, O faithless children [of the twelve tribes],’ says the Lord,
‘For I am a master and husband to you,
And I will take you [not as a nation, but individually]—one from a city and two from a [tribal] family—
And I will bring you to Zion.’
15 “Then [in the final time] I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and [true] understanding. 16 It will be in those days when you have [repented and] multiplied and increased in the land,” says the Lord, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will not come to mind, nor will they [seriously] remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again [for instead of the ark, which symbolized My presence, I will be present].
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
The prophecy from the Lord through His Prophet Jeremiah speaks of God’s promise to give us spiritual shepherds to feed and nourish us with knowledge and understanding that would cause an increase in the lives of His people.
Spiritual Shepherds then …. We call them Pastors today.
A question is being asked today: What is a pastor according to God’s heart?
Well, before we try to answer that question, let’s take the time out and define what a pastor is.
Well according to the dictionary, Pastor is a noun, it is defined as a Christian minister or a priest who is a leader of a congregation.
But according to the Word of God, a Pastor is a shepherd, a spiritual shepherd who leads God’s people, which is the church.
The pastor is one who oversees, he leads, he guides, he protects, he teaches, he trains, he counsels, he preaches to, he prays with and for it, and He feeds and nourishes and grows the church with spiritual food which is the Word of God.
In Jeremiah 3:15, the Lord says, And I will give you pastors according to my heart, which will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
The knowledge and understanding that the pastors are to feed us with is the Word of God.
Acts 20:28 says, “Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.”
The New Testament, word of His grace (Acts 20:32), says that it is God Who gave us Pastors.
“And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers].”
They are shepherds and father-like ones God has given us to be one of the channels of His grace to us.
Ephesians 4:8 – 11 says,
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”
They are a critically essential part of His design for our life and His Church.
This is not a day to be without the gift of a Pastor in your life.
Yes, the pastor is to feed the church through preaching and teaching the Word of God.
But yet a question is still being asked: What is a pastor according to God’s heart?
Now, the key phrase is Pastors according to God’s heart.
And it is important to know what a pastor is according to God’s heart because there are a lot of people who call themselves pastors, but they are not Pastors according to God’s heart.
So, the question is, what is a pastor according to God’s heart?
Well, a Pastor according to God’s heart is someone who is:
1. Called by God.
2nd Timothy 1:8-10 says,
“8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible], 9 for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago], 10 but now [that extraordinary purpose and grace] has been fully disclosed and realized by us through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus who [through His incarnation and earthly ministry] abolished death [making it null and void] and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
2. Chosen by God.
John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name; he may give it you.
3. Annointed and Appointed by God.
Acts 20:28 says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
4. Sent by God.
Romans 10:13-15 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things.”
5. Given to the church by God.
Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ ….
7. A man of prayer, not just for himself, but for his family, and for the church…
Matthew 26:41 says to “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.”
8. A man who studies the Word of God that he may present Jesus Christ in his preaching and teaching as the central theme of the gospel message, and that his preaching and his teaching will be considered sound doctrine.
2nd Timothy 2:14-15 says,
An Unashamed Workman
14 Remind the people of these facts, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good, and [upsets and undermines and] ruins [the faith of] those who listen. 15 Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.
9. A man who willingly, sacrificially, patterns his whole life after the life of Jesus Christ so he may be an example of Jesus Christ before his congregation.
1 Peter 5:1-3 says,
Serve God Willingly
5 Therefore, I strongly urge the elders among you [pastors, spiritual leaders of the church], as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory that is to be revealed: 2 shepherd and guide and protect the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not [motivated] for shameful gain, but with wholehearted enthusiasm; 3 not lording it over those assigned to your care [do not be arrogant or overbearing], but be examples [of Christian living] to the flock [set a pattern of integrity for your congregation].
10. A man who rules and leads well, not just in the church house, but also in his own house…
I Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”
11. A man who loves God and who loves God’s people.
I Peter 1:22 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto the feigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”
12. A man of deep compassion who goes above and beyond to care for people.
Matthew 9:13 “Go and learn what this [Scripture] means: ‘I desire compassion [for those in distress], and not [animal] sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call [to repentance] the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to change], but sinners [those who recognize their sin and actively seek forgiveness].”
Four Thousand Fed
32 Then Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days and have nothing [left] to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, because they might faint [from exhaustion] on the way [home].”
Mark 6:34 “34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd [waiting], and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance]; and He began to teach them many things.
A man who is patient with people.
A man who is kind and gentle with people.
A man who is humble.
A man who is unselfish.
A man who is peaceable.
A man who has the joy of the Lord as his strength.
A man who loves praising and worshipping God and leading his people to worship God.
A man who is willing and loves to serve God.
A man who loves working with the youth as well as the senior citizens.
A man who loves ministering to singles, as well as the married couples.
A man who ministers to those in prisons as well as those in the hospitals.
A man who believes in doing the right thing and being holy.
A man who is courageous and strong in the Lord.
A man who will stand up for righteousness, and speak out against sin.
A man who is honest and truthful.
A man with a vision from the Lord.
Proverbs 29:18 says, Where there is no prophetic vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
13. Last but not least, a man who is born again.
John 3:3 says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” To be born again, you must be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Last but not least, it must be understood that a pastor according to God’s heart is not a perfect pastor.
King David was a man who was after God’s heart, but he was not perfect.
But yet God used him mightily to be one of the most powerful kings of Israel.
God used him to write most of the Book of Psalms we have in our bibles today.
And like wise Pastors who are according to God’s heart are not perfect, but God uses them anyway.
That is why as the church we should pray for our pastors, support our pastors, honor our pastors, love our pastors, take care of our pastors, obey our pastors so they can do the job that they have been called to do without the unnecessary trouble, to do the often-thankless labor as a pastor with joy and not with grief.
In the midst of a season when they are needed most, pastors are burning out at an alarming rate!
As Christians, we should feel deep agony over this fact, especially since the main reason for it appears to be . . . us!
The very Christians who comprise the congregations of pastors who are rapidly dropping out of ministry are often the cause.
God has not called us to criticize or damage our pastors.
He has called us to love them (1 Cor. 13:1-13), to be submissive to their leadership (Heb. 13:17), and to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
The Father has called our pastors and has ordained them to be our shepherds (Acts 20:28).
How can you pray effectively for your Pastors and their families?
- Make a commitment to pray for them daily. If your pastors knew that you, your family, and others were praying for them, and for their families, each day . . . can you imagine what an encouragement that would be? Would their hearts be lifted if they knew that they could share a need or a concern with your family and you would take it to the Lord on their behalf? You know it would!
- Pray that your congregation will allow them to minister in a loving and caring environment. Many pastors and their families feel very alone in the midst of their churches. Often, they don’t have close friends in the congregation to whom they can go with burdens. They may feel that they can’t share needs because they, of all people, should have everything together. In truth, the pastor’s family is just like yours. They struggle with similar issues and problems. They desperately need others to come alongside of them and commit to fervent, continuous prayer so that the enemy won’t have the opportunity to do damage.
- Your pastor’s ministry will only be as effective as the prayer that fuels it. If you want a joyful, Spirit-filled shepherd, who confidently leads their congregation into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and demonstrates a passion for revival and for reaching the lost, then you must pray for them – and for their families!
Here are some specific ways that your family can pray for your pastors and their families:
1. Pray that your pastors will always have a passion to know Christ more intimately.
2. Pray that your pastors will minister out of a humble spirit.
3. Pray that your pastors will minister from the Spirit’s power.
4. Pray that your pastors will be persons of prayer and of the Word (Acts 6:4) in order to live a holy and pure life.
5. Pray for the families of your pastors.
6. Pray for protection against the schemes of the devil.
7. Pray blessing into the life of your pastor(s) and their families.
Becoming the Answer
Now you have prayed for and blessed your pastor(s) and their families, here are some practical ways to care for, encourage, show your appreciation to them:
- Submit to the spiritual authority of your pastor(s) and encourage others to do the same…especially if there are any who are complaining or grumbling.
- Extend hospitality to your pastor(s) and their families by inviting them to your home for a meal or including them in family activities. Think of other creative ideas.
- Recognize that your pastor(s) and their families go through the same struggles as everyone else’s families and be empathetic rather than critical.
- Give your pastor(s) and their spouses time together while you care for their children or hire someone to do so.
- Fix a meal and take it to them with an encouraging note.
- Take a basket of items you know would encourage them. Find out some things they like to snack on, or some of their favorite coffee, card games, etc.
- Find out if there are any needs in their home that need attention: leaky shower, car repairs, yard work, etc. and see that they are taken care of.
- Send notes of encouragement and appreciation from your whole family; have your children draw pictures or write their own notes.
- Recruit as many people as you can to pray regularly for your pastors and their families. Try to cover them in prayer seven days a week.
- Encourage your church leaders to send your pastor(s) on a spiritual retreat regularly so that they can be renewed and refreshed by the Holy Spirit.
Use your imagination.
There are so many things you can do to show your love and appreciation.
Be determined to pray for and care for your pastors and their families and allow God to work in and through you by encouraging other families to do the same.
Your simple efforts will do much to advance the cause of Christ in your church and community, as God does a mighty work in and through your pastor(s) lives.
May your thoughts and prayers and those of many others in your church, along with expressions of kindness, care and appreciation, keep pastors and their families safe, joyful and productive and above all other things, well-loved and highly cherished for many years to the glory and honor of Savior Christ Jesus!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Creator God, Author of all Life, Divine Shepherd of us all, Thank you for a pastor that seeks You with their whole heart. The pastor’s singular desire, Lord, is to serve and please You. So, Father, show the pastor the way. Give the pastor Your vision. Grant Your clarity. Make the complex simple. And then give the pastor boldness to step out in faith to accomplish Your plans for their ministry and for our church. It’s easy to be distracted by many voices, so Father let the pastor hear but one voice, and let that voice be Yours. These things I pray with hope and expectation, in Jesus’ name.