Our theme for this month: “Take Care of Each Other”
Our Bible verse for today: “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “It’s not just Pastors who are called to take care of God’s people.”
One of the books I’m currently reading is, “The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart” by Harold Senkbeil. It’s a fascinating book, but a little heavy (it is very theological in scope and reads like a textbook for seminary students), therefore it is slow reading and it takes some work to follow his logic and to understand his points. But with that said, I’m finding it helpful for multiple reasons.
One of the reasons is because the author calls Pastors to refocus on what should be our primary purpose, which is taking care of God’s people. This refocusing is needed because in our current Christian culture in the United States, the successful Pastor is often expected to be good at a lot of other things that aren’t directly related to the care of souls. He is often expected to be witty, clever, and entertaining; he should have a compelling stage presence; he should be a skilled promoter who understands and utilizes creative marketing strategies; and he needs to function like a corporate CEO. Yes, he should be hip, and fun, and a great speaker; an executive who creates good budgets; a boss who effectively manages his staff; and a community leader who is a member in good standing of the local Chamber of Commerce.
But none of those tasks is Biblical and none of it is what Jesus called Pastors to do. He told us to do one thing – “take care of my sheep”.
While that’s certainly true for Pastors, as I’ve been reading the book it has occurred to me that taking care of the Lord’s people isn’t just a job for Pastors, it’s a job for all of us. Taking care of each other is a theme that’s featured prominently and which occurs repeatedly all throughout both the Old and New Testaments. God wants us to take care of each other. In fact, one of the most important indicators of healthy church life is how well the people in that church take care of each other. This is important because a spiritually sick person is the most miserable of all people, while a spiritually healthy person can be strong and content and at peace regardless of other circumstances. We need to help each other to be and stay spiritually healthy, and we need to help each other to deal effectively with the challenges of life.
It’s true that taking care of God’s people is the primary responsibility of the Pastor, it is the main focus of his calling. But it’s also true that we all share in that responsibility. We must take care of each other.
All this month we will explore what the Bible has to teach us about taking care of each other.