There was a house in the neighborhood where grew up that was notorious for being beautiful and run down all at the same time. The bushes were over grown. The paint was faded. You really couldn’t tell if someone lived in it or not, but there was a little old lady who lived in a camper parked next to it. She used the bathroom in the house. People would break in and do drugs (and who knows what else) in the house. Not too many years ago someone bought the place and put untold amounts of money and hours into renovating the place. People from blocks around came around wanting a tour of the place and to hear the story of what it was and what it was going to be. The house had been afflicted. It had seen much adversity. But that’s what made the house and the story so much more interesting and impacting. The same is true for people. It’s the ones who have suffered the most affliction, who have been through the adversity, and come to recognize their need for God to renovate their lives, that are the most interesting an impacting. God uses these things. He can use you. You just have to let him.
Being a shepherd looks easy. You hang out outdoors, the sheep eat the grass, that’s about it. Right? There’s a ton more to it than that. It’s pretty dangerous stuff. It’s stressful. The hours are long and the wages are lousy. That’s why shepherds bail. That’s why they abuse the sheep. That’s why they steal from the one for which they work. It’s no coincidence that the Bible refers to those who are over churches as “pastors”. The word means shepherd. being a pastor is easy. Your read a few books, you get to be up front, and people take you out to lunch. There’s much more to it than that. The hours are long, the wages can be lousy. It is dangerous, people can hate you, you can end up hating and abusing people, you can get stressed out and quit, and on it goes. God wants faithful, reliable, in-it-for-Him-for-life shepherds. It’s not easy, but that’s no excuse for failure either. If you are a pastor, or thinking about becoming one, do it because God has called you, and for no other reason.
This is another one of those Ben Kenobi and Luke Skywalker “from a certain point of view” discussion points. Who is saved? Those whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb. When were their names written there? Before the foundation of the world. In other words, before Genesis 1:1. “But I thought I got saved at that crusade last summer and I wasn’t saved before that. I had to believe that Jesus is alive and confess Him as my Lord.” You’re right, you weren’t saved until then. Huh? From God’s perspective history is complete. There is no past, present, or future fro God. If you are saved you’re name was recorded in the Lamb’s book of life before there was time. At the same time, from your perspective, there is past, present, and future, and you did have to come to a point in time where you believed and confessed, and were then saved. Confused? Don’t worry about it. Love Jesus and enjoy the security that comes from knowing that He has had a reservation for you for a long time.