Where are the Shepherds?

Philippians 2:19-22 – 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

The word for pastor in Greek is a word that means shepherd. It is not at all complicated or confusing. Pastors are supposed to care for the sheep. Sometimes that means a warning. Sometimes it means a comforting word. Sometimes it means driving off enemies with a stick. Pastors care for their sheep.

The reason that this is on my mind is that, as I read the above passage, I see the uniqueness of Timothy. Paul says that he has nobody like Timothy who will truly be concerned for the wellbeing of the sheep. Something about the way that Timothy does ministry stands out and makes him a powerfully useful tool in the ministry of Paul and in the church of God.

What makes me sad is that I wonder how many would say something similar. I’m not wondering if people would highlight a Timothy and say how helpful and loving he is. But I do wonder how many would look at a Timothy, a man who cares for others, and say that Timothy is unique. Do we truly not have men like Timothy who will be genuinely concerned for the good of others in their care?

I fear, as I watch many a person in the church, that there are too few, far too few, who genuinely seek the good of others. We have many who will fight to be right. We have many who will happily call out error. We have many who will seek to gain a bigger audience. We have many who will go to the mat for novel doctrines. But do we have many who will simply pour out their lives to care for and seek the good of the sheep?

May we never need to find Timothy unique. May the Lord bless our church with elders and laypersons who will have lives marked by the genuine care of others. May we see pastors who love to shepherd. May we know that warning and comfort, preaching and compassion, church discipline and restoration are all part of those who care for the flock of God, shepherding as overseers.