I said earlier in the week that Derek Prime and Alastair Begg’s book “On being a pastor” was a great tonic for a tired and stressed pastor. Here’s the last two paragraphs of the chapter on pastoral care which I found help set my priorities straight again:
Although our purpose in this and the previous chapter has been to stress the importance of pastoral work, we must never forget that it is not quantity that counts, but quality. We must not be in such a hurry to do that we forget to be. Our own spiritual freshness determines the usefulness of our pastoral ministry. Because there is always more pastoral work to be done, we may fall into the trap of dashing here and there to the detriment of our personal walk with God and our duties to our own families. Our relationship to God must be guarded at all costs.
Even so, the work of a pastor is an anxious one. Like Paul we will know what it is to be “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5), to be “struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9), to struggle on behalf of believers (Colossians 2:1), and to “face daily the pressure of … concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28). But there is no work to be compared with it, for none shares the Good Shepherd’s fellowship or joy more than those who care properly for the sheep and put themselves at their disposal.