That hard ground of tough ministerial work that Paul described—fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith—is the seedbed of the righteousness God grows in us. Remember Jesus’ kingdom parable about the man who scattered seed? “Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain” (Mark 4:27-28). Our righteousness grows as we persevere in pastoring.
Pastors: here is our job: To be faithful and wise managers, providing food on schedule to those in the household we oversee. Food service doesn’t have the cachet of greatness or prestige but that is our job. We’re quartermasters behind the lines, feeding the troops their rations. The measure of our success is a well-nourished flock, soldiers who don’t wilt in battle. As Dallas Willard wrote, “Instead of counting Christians, we need to weigh them.”
Did you realize that Jesus washing the feet of his disciples in the upper room was eschatology? According to Luke 12:37, the Lord Jesus lays aside his blood-dipped, gleaming white robe and golden sash to dress as a servant, and he begins to wait on us!