Quotations from William Still’s book, The Work of the Pastor [HT: Jeff Niell]
Israel’s sheep were reared, fed, tended, retrieved, healed and restored―for sacrifice on the altar of God. This end of all pastoral work must never be forgotten―that its ultimate aim is to lead God’s people to offer themselves up to Him in total devotion of worship and service.
The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed. He is certainly not to become an entertainer of goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goatland. You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness. Do we really believe that the Word of God, by His Spirit, changes, as well as maddens men? If we do, to be evangelist and pastors, feeders of sheep, we must be men of the Word of God.
I despair of some who come to our church and who read our literature, because what they hear and read is only one item of their spiritual diet. Indeed, they eat very little of anything but like children play with their food. That is why they are so thin. They juggle with it as if it were something to sell, not eat, and are not very sure which item is the best selling line.
Eat it, eat it whole. All or nothing. For it is only “all or nothing” devourers of the Word of God who will ever be or do anything for God.
A true Christian fellowship is a palace where stray cats and dogs can find a home. It is a hospital, where the only sin is to hide your wounds from the doctor and nurse. And the true pastor’s job is to strip all the fearful ones, however gently, patiently, faithfully, and all the hypocritical ones of their camouflage and cloaks. Grace and truth come by Jesus Christ.
All that many spiritually sick people need is a good balanced diet and a disciplined routine. My principal surgery, clinic, vestry hour, consulting room―call it what you will―is the pulpit and teaching desk. If, in the end, I cannot get people to see this, I despair of them ever becoming what Christ means them to be; they will certainly never become the satisfied, happy and, more important, useful people they could be.