I know of no more beautiful declaration of a pastor’s love for his people than Paul’s words to the struggling young church at Thessalonica: “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
Isn’t that what ministry all about? Share the gospel . . . share your life . . . regard people with tender affection.
Share the gospel – for without it, there is no salvation (Romans 1:16).
Share your life – for without giving yourself to people, there is no mutual bearing of burdens that fulfills the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Regard people with tender affection – for without it, ministry is loveless toil that amounts to nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
“We were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” – just the words we expect from an undershepherd of the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his beloved sheep (John 10:11).