The following is entry #1 excerpted from Shepherd's Balm by Richard Earl, a devotional tool for pastors due for publication in August, 2010 and available from Kalosbooks.com.
A minister, who does his work with an eye single to God’s glory, leaving everything else behind, receives the best things the world affords. A multitude of people become his relatives and friends. Fathers and mothers are as proud of him as though he were a member of their family. Old men look on him lovingly as on a son. Young men look up to him reverently as to a father. Men of his own age love him as a brother. A large circle feels that in him they have a comrade and friend. He enjoys free access to many homes, houses and lands are his, not by legal title but by spiritual prescription.
Appreciation, gratitude, affection, these are the gold, frankincense, and myrrh constantly poured out before him. If love is the best thing in the world, then the faithful pastor gets more of the Earth’s richest treasure than any other man.
To be sure, he will not be loved by everybody. Jesus was careful to state that the good things would be accompanied by tribulations. These also are part of the minister’s reward. The Pharisees and Sadducees and scribes will always be against him. Men not bad of heart, but of stupid ear will misunderstand him and misrepresent him. The idler will gossip about him and the ungrateful will return evil for good. Those possessed of demons will openly attack him. All this is to be expected. Is the pupil to be above his teacher, and the servant above his master? Think it not strange, young man, when this fiery experience overtakes you.
Do not be thrown into panic because all men do not speak well of you. Do not cry and sob when you meet with opposition in your parish. Do your duty and you will stir up trouble, but you will never be left without faithful hearts to love you. When you go into Gethsemane, friends will remain praying at the gate, and if you die on the cross you will carry into heaven with you the affectionate devotion of many loyal hearts. There is nothing more beautiful on this earth than the love of a parish for a faithful pastor.
Charles Edward Jefferson, The Minister as Shepherd, pp. 180-182
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Psalms 23:6 (NKJV)