“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
Jesus saw the multitudes and had compassion on them because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. His heart went out to them because they were weary, “they fainted.”
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd, who gives his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) He is the “Great Shepherd” who lives for his sheep. (Hebrews 13:20) He is the “Chief Shepherd” who is coming for his sheep. (I Peter 5:4)
David said, “The Lord is MY shepherd.” The Apostle Paul admonished the elders of the church of Ephesus, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
During this pandemic, everything except “essential” businesses closed. Even the churches. I fail to understand how the liquor stores and abortion clinics are essential to the well-being of the people and a church, a place of worship, is non-essential. The greatest need for mankind is spiritual, not physical. Jesus said, “Fear not them, which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:22)
In spite of all the restrictions placed upon pastors (the under-shepherds), they have used the technology at their disposal to “feed the church of God.” They are unable to visit the sick in the hospital, the lonely in the nursing homes, and their time is limited to spend with those who have lost a loved one in death.
Pastors have been faithful to preach — using social media — and to (in some cases) hold services in the parking lots of their churches. Some might ask, why go to all that trouble in preparing for a worship service? I can answer that with one word: compassion!
We have been encouraged to express our appreciation to the essential workers like the cashiers at the grocery store, nurses, food providers and mail carriers, and rightfully so. They deserve any words of appreciation and encouragement that we can give.
I believe we also owe a debt of gratitude to the faithful pastors who preach the gospel of the saving grace of God. The Bible says, “To esteem them very highly in love for their works’ sake and be at peace among yourselves.” (I Thessalonians 5:13). “For they watch for your souls, as they must give account.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Pastors, I appreciate your labor of love, and applaud your faithfulness to preach the unsearchable riches of God’s amazing grace in spite of all the opposition and restrictions. Be assured “when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (I Peter 5:4)
Don McCann is an evangelist in Kingsport.