One of the greatest privileges is to be a pastor for Jesus Christ during these last days of earth’s history. Without question, Christ is the Head of the church, and He is the Chief Shepherd. And as such, He has called you and me as His ministers, to be special servants and pastors after His own heart. In Jeremiah 3:15, God says, “ ‘I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.’” 1
The work of the local pastor is vitally important and foundational to the success of God’s church throughout the world. Thank you for the very important work you do: feeding, nurturing, and guiding God’s people; leading out in dynamic evangelistic outreach and training members for active participation (one of your most important duties); and sharing the Word of God in its complete message from Sabbath to Sabbath.
As you go about the work of pastoral ministry, remember that the Head Shepherd is constantly by your side to strengthen, encourage, and guide you. God has called you, and His orders are clear: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).
In order to do this, it is so important to be daily connected with Christ—to be revived and reformed by the Holy Spirit for our mission of lifting up Christ, His love, His righteousness, His plan of salvation, the sanctuary service, the three angels’ messages, and His soon coming. We are to proclaim in word and in practical activity His Advent message of truth to “reach the world.” We are told, “The secret of success is the union of divine power with human effort. Those who achieve the greatest results are those who rely most implicitly upon the Almighty Arm.”2 This is the secret of your power as a pastor after God’s own heart. Every morning, place yourself in God’s hands asking that He lead in all that you do.
When I was a freshman in college, my father took the time to write me a letter and enclose a beautiful handwritten quotation from the book Steps to Christ. I have never forgotten it! Pastors, take time to write, call, or text your children. Let them know of your spiritual interest in their lives. Here is a portion of the quotation that my father sent to me: “Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, ‘Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.’ . . . Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.”3
As you allow the Lord to lead you each day, your ministry will flourish and become a great blessing as you become God’s own heart. You can then identify with Paul, who said, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).
Jesus is coming soon! In the near future, we will look up and see a small cloud that will get larger and brighter. Soon it will fill the whole sky—all of heaven poured out for this climactic event of earth’s history. And there, seated in the center of the cloud of angels, will be our Savior and Chief Shepherd. The One who came to this earth; lived a perfect life; died for us on the cross as the perfect, sinless Lamb; rose again; and ascended into heaven to become our High Priest, where He is interceding on our behalf in the Most Holy Place at this very moment. But He will take off those priestly robes and put on His kingly robes to return and claim us as His own. We will look up and say, “‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us’ ” (Isa. 25:9). And Christ will look down and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant and pastor, enter into the joy of your Lord” (paraphrase of Matt. 25:21). Through Christ’s grace, let us plan to be there!
Arise! Shine! Jesus is coming!
Yours in the blessed hope,
Ted N. C. Wilson,
President Seventh-day Adventist Church
1 All Scripture references are from the New King James Version.
2 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), 509.
3 White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), 70