I used to describe the most divisive issue in any church as any statement with the word “pastor” in it.
Let’s face it, pastors are important to the church. In fact, almost everyone describes a church by its pastor.
What should you say about a pastor? What should the pastor aspire to be?
What could describe the pastor who pleases God?
Acts 20 describes the farewell of Paul to the elders (pastors) in Ephesus. Paul spent three years among the Ephesian believers, teaching and training them in the things of God. Paul’s ministry in Ephesus was the longest of his entire ministry.
While we don’t know all of the specifics, we know that Paul rented the Hall of Tyrannus to teach during the day. Most Ephesians rested in the middle of the day and Paul used that time (some think between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM) to teach. His ministry probably became much of the impetus for the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 1-3) as well as Colossae and Hierapolis (Colossians 4:13). Some commentators believe Paul spent five hours a day, six days a week teaching and preaching. What a powerful example for the man of God! And, what a great work he provided.
He gives us a great example for a pastor. I would encourage you to read Acts 20, particularly verses 17-38. Here are the major points that I find in that passage.
The center of this passage is love. It is exactly what we would expect to find. After all, Paul told the Corinthians that the greatest of Christian virtues is love. “But now abide faith, hope, love these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
You don’t have to look far to see the great affection Paul had for the Ephesian and Asian believers. Paul worked to provide for himself and then taught for five hours everyday! What an amazing example of passion for the gospel and the teaching of the Word.
These verses also show the Ephesians’ great appreciation for Paul. He had given them the gospel at great expense physically and spiritually. They knew this and showed that love and gratitude. “And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word when he had spoken, that they should see his face no more” (Acts 20:38).
The greatest example in this passage is the love of Paul and the Ephesians for the Lord God who had given Himself for them. They had not misplaced their love and affection. They were not followers of Paul. Paul and the Ephesians devoted themselves to the Lord.
What a great picture of a pastor and a people who please God.
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