The combination of professionalization and [the impermanence of modern society] has encouraged pastors to suppose that it is proper for them to seek careers. When they cannot form lasting relationships in a particular community, they are tempted to look inward for the measure of fruitfulness rather than outward. They will be tempted to seek first a career rather than to make an enduring contribution to the people in a particular place. But how can the biblical teaching on service be reconciled with the psychological appetites for greater visibility and power that careers generate? Perhaps, instead of seeking a career, the modern minister would find it easier to model the virtues of humility and self-sacrifice by seeking to be a fool.Here's what the pastor wrote in the margin:
Resolved, by God's grace and not against his clear leading: I am unwilling to subject the precious sheep under my charge to the indignity and pain of saying to them that a different flock—with which I am not intimate—is more worthy of my efforts and merits the uprooting of all my perseverant labors with my flock merely because the new flock is larger (or smaller) or grazes in a more verdant, visible field.He's had his chances to jump ship. His sheep are fortunate.
My present charge may, in some ways, take me for granted. And by jumping ship, I might initially be greeted with a burst of noteworthy success. But at the end of the day, would I not stand guilty of sacrificing a content and vulnerable flock for the advancement of self as a shepherd? What do shepherds know of self-advancement? And in the end, is not the Chief Shepherd whose commendation matters? And will he not commend faithful, life-long fidelity to a flock that is ever confident in the persevering, selfless love of his loyal under-shepherd?