You Are On My Heart

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

What does your pastor do? He or she is to represent you before God, and God to you.  Likewise, your pastor is tasked with making sure you know and lovingly follow the will of God for your life. And namely, God’s will for you is your sanctification—that you walk in holiness before the Lord

Pastor Shepherd

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 28:29-30

In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the Lord. Insert the Urim and Thummim into the sacred chestpiece so they will be carried over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the Lord’s presence. In this way, Aaron will always carry over his heart the objects used to determine the Lord’s will for his people whenever he goes in before the Lord.

In the Old Testament, it was the priesthood; in the New Testament community, it was the pastorate. In both cases, God saw fit to call certain people out of the community of faith for the purpose of watching over the souls of the people—and that includes you. Not only does your pastor have the task of walking in personal holiness before the Lord, they have taken on responsibility for your spiritual well being.

Whether it was the priesthood or the pastorate, one of the high privileges and sacred responsibilities of the spiritual director was to represent his or her charges before the Lord. In this story, as the template for vocational ministry was laid out, Aaron, the proto-pastor/priest, was to keep the names of the people next to his heart as he entered the Lord’s presence as a reminder. This reminder was not in the sense of that either he or the God to whom he was bringing his people had forgotten them, but it was a reminder in the sense that his intercession for them was to be a high priority.

Likewise, Aaron was to keep the mysterious sacred objects, the Urim and the Thummim, used to determine God’s will, next to his heart as well, as a reminder that a high priority to God was that the people clearly know and willingly follow the Lord’s will. That was Aaron

That is your pastor’s role, too. He or she is to represent you before God, and God to you. The pastor is to serve in the same sense that your faithful high priest Jesus now serves: making intercession before the Father on your behalf:

Therefore Jesus is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. (Hebrews 7:25)

Likewise, your pastor is tasked with making sure you know and lovingly follow the will of God for your life. And namely, God’s will for you is your sanctification—that you walk in holiness before the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) And not only is that a task, that is your pastor’s passion for you. If their calling is authentic, and they are walking out that calling properly, their work concerns your spiritual well being—both in time and what will count for all eternity. Your pastor is not doing ministry just for the fun of it. No, the pastor’s passion is seeing Christ fully formed in you, seeing you fully mature in Jesus. (Galatians 4:19)

What your shepherd is doing in ministry touches the very core of your eternal being. So because of the important role the pastor plays on your behalf is so vital, make their job as easy for them as you can by joyfully entering into spiritual partnership. Make it a joint venture, where you fully cooperate with God and pastor in the process of your spiritual formation. God will be pleased—and so will your pastor.

As I was writing this devotional, I came across a prayer that I had written down some time back for the people of the church that I shepherd. Not that I want to promote my own worthiness or importance as a pastor, but I want to give you insight into what I, and whoever your pastor might be, daily carry on our heart:

Dear Father, you have called me to be both a priest to represent the people in your presence and a pastor, to shepherd them into your will. That high privilege and sacred duty is to be kept always at the front of my heart. Forgive me that I often make my relationship with you—my wants, my desires, my thoughts, my fears—my priority, and I neglect the needs of my people. Help me to change, to balance my needs with their needs. Help me to be a loving and effective spiritual director for the good people you have given me to shepherd. Lord, they are good people—and they need your blessings so much. I pray that you would prosper them and show them your favor. Bless them with health, with more than adequate finances, with strong marriages and loving homes, with respectful kids; transform their minds and enable them to see that lasting joy and real significance comes from putting your purposes first in their lives. Make them truly kingdom minded, purpose driven people. In our gatherings, release your presence and your power among us in ways that transform us. And Lord, enable me to be the earthly leader that brings heaven to their souls. They are your people, the sheep of your flock. Be gracious and merciful to them in practical ways this week, O Lord. Cause your will to be fulfilled among them—unify them, energize them, help them, feed them, reveal your glory to them, transform them into the people you have desired for them to become. In the name of the true and great Shepherd and Guardian of their souls, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

That is what someone is praying on your behalf today. I truly hope that encourages you!

Going Deeper With God: Since I have shared a prayer that I have offered for the sheep of my flock, may I suggest a simple prayer that you offer up to God for the pastors who have watched over your soul throughout the course of your life? Whether they are still serving, or have retired, or have gone on to their eternal reward, I’m sure the Lord would be pleased: “Dear Father, thank you for every spiritual leader who has contributed to my spiritual formation. Bless them abundantly. Let them know that their efforts have not been wasted. Allow them to experience the joy of knowing this sheep is well on the way to being presented perfect before Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen!”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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