The Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, Ephesians 3:6-8 NASU
We define grace as God’s undeserved favor. Grace keeps us out of hell. Grace gives us Christ’s righteousness. Grace teaches our heart to fear and grace will lead us home. Grace is greater than our sin. We are the recipients of so much undeserved favor from God.
But do we look at our call to shepherd as more evidence of God’s grace? Do we see it as a privilege that God favored to give us. Or is it a religious duty based on our willingness to serve? Do we see our calling to shepherd God’s people as an evidence of God’s favor on our life?
Paul seems to regard his own ministry in this way. His ministry was “the gift of God’s grace which was given to me.” “To me… this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles…” It was not duty that caused him to launch out with the gospel. It was God’s favor to him. It was God’s favor that called him to this ministry of hardship.
In what way is our own calling as a shepherd evidence of God’s favor to us? What grace has he given to us that he has not given to others? Here are some beginning thoughts.
By being placed in this responsibility:
others have said we have the character for it. That is grace.
others have said we have the knowledge for it. That is grace.
we have more privileges to lead others to Christ. That is grace.
we have more privileges of helping others out of the tangles of sin. That is grace.
we are forced to depend on God more. That is grace.
we are forced back to the Word more. That is grace.
we are forced back to pray more. That is grace.
we participate in the sufferings of Christ more. That is grace.
our character flaws become obvious more quickly. That is grace.
The next time you are tempted to grumble about your duties as a shepherd remember what a privilege it is. In fact, our ministry as a shepherd is a gift of God’s favor that he does not give to everyone. Enjoy that grace.