God’s Household Model
What does it mean to be a pastor and a shepherd of God’s people? The answer may surprise you! If you are a mother and a father—together you are to be the model that answers this question. In fact, even the apostle Paul considered God’s role for a father-mother team to be a model of communication—not only for himself but for his missionary team!
We see this illustrated in a beautiful way in his first letter to the Thessalonians. Reflecting on ministry he and Silas and Timothy had among these new believers, he wrote:
Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead
we were gentle among you, as a nurse nurtures her own children (1 Thessalonians 2:7).
Paul’s was literally referring to a mother nursing her newborn baby. I’m sure you’ll agree that there is no more tender event.
Think about this illustration for a moment! Here are grown men—each a man’s man—relating to these newborn believers in Thessalonica in the same gentle and tender way as nurturing mothers.
What about the “father equation”? Paul answers this question:
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers. As you know, like A FATHER WITH HIS OWN CHILDREN, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to live worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Space prohibits explaining this parental model in-depth. But here are three major points of application.
As spiritual leaders:
We should reflect Christlike qualities—“devotedness,” “righteousness,” and “blamelessness.”
We should “encourage,” “comfort,” and “implore” those trusted to our care.
We should make every effort to be personal—ministering to “each one” of those who are followers of Jesus Christ.
Personalizing communication, of course, is one of our biggest challenges. But let’s remember that Paul and Silas and Timothy were a team, no doubt sharing this pastoral task. This example, of course, demonstrates why we need more and more qualified leaders in our churches to follow this God ordained household model.
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