I met a pastor last weekend and, in the course of conversation he said, "It's hard sometimes." He was speaking of leading a church. No surprise there.
I asked, "What's the hardest thing about it for you?"
Having been raised around church leadership and involved in some type of church ministry for most of my life, I half expected to hear one of the two most common complaints of pastors--or for that matter, of people in general. Complaints about life. Not just church life.
"Finances. We need more money."
"People. Difficult, annoying, immature people."
But he said none of those. Instead, without hesitation, he answered, "The hardest thing is seeing desperate needs all around me, and feeling helpless to meet them."
His words left me humbled, speechless inside. I felt as if I were standing on holy ground in that moment, myself in desperate need of cleansing.
I don't always have the heart of a shepherd, as my pastor-husband has. As this man has. As every believer is supposed to have. Too often I've allowed the messy business of leading get in the way of tending to the needs of sheep.
But today... I'm thinking of needs, dire needs. And of the Gentle Shepherd and what the tax collector saw in His face that day, and wrote down so we will never forget how to be:
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." --Matthew 9:36