Anyway, this snapshot of a life poured out- shepherding and loving a community- has stirred up a lot of thoughts and feelings for me. I'll be honest, I've been less than thrilled with the idea of being in the pastorate. For me, the idea of committing to do life with a community of people that I don't get to choose- people who may be complainers, who may put unrealistic pressure on my family, who may not appreciate what I have to offer- doesn't excite me. In fact, the very idea of doing life with Christians doesn't always excite me. Christians can be nasty! They can be materialistic and superficial, apathetic and dispassionate, hypocritical and backbiting. Who would want to commit to that?
Then this week I've thought of Jesus. He poured His life out for a faithless flock. He loved and did life with people who turned their back on Him, even after He had loved them perfectly. Did He walk with them in grace day in and day out because they deserved His love, because they were just such stellar and holy people that He felt at home around them? Was He impressed with their affection for God and their appreciation for all He had done? Doubt it. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten that the church- the people of God- never earned God's love or commitment. I had also forgotten that I never earned it either. In fact, I had forgotten that all those things that I dislike about "Christians" describe me pretty well. Materialistic. Apathetic. Hypocritical.
And yet Jesus does life with me, and everyone else in His thankless flock. He is committed to His people, not because we impress Him, but because of His great love. He is committed to making us holy, and He is in it for the long-haul. So maybe learning to love like Jesus means learning to be poured out like water, without the appreciation I think I deserve. Maybe it means learning to love people who don't seem very "deserving" at all. Maybe it means my heart being humbled and changed.
I am thankful that He is using this small taste of "less-than-glorious" kind of ministry to show me just how glorious the ministry of Jesus, our Shepherd, truly is.