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   The heart of the Shepherd - 2018 Pastors & Church Workers Devotional Service    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Romans 5:7-8


Romans 5:7-8
[7] For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
[8] But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to give 2018 Pastors & Church workers devotional service. The devotees of this service are those who are given duties from the church.

'The servants of the Lord' are those who literally chose the way of a servant to devote their lives and everything to the Lord. 'Levite workers' are those who devote themselves along with their knowledge and talents not for the fame or honor of the world, but for the kingdom of God. Deacons and deaconesses are also those who consider church works as theirs own, and they spend their time, money, and health on them. Those who were acknowledged to be more faithful have been inaugurated as elders and senior deaconesses.

Now, why is that you work so hard and devote yourself like this? It is because you received the love of the Lord who shed the last drop of His blood for you on the cross. It is because you know the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son.

Romans 5:7-8 says, "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

For me, my love and thanks for the Lord has never changed since the moment I met God; it's rather been greater and thicker. My constant and desperate wish was 'what is left for me to give to my dear Lord,' and 'How can I accomplish the will of God completely.' What about you?

The title of this message is the "Heart of the Shepherd." "The heart of the Shepherd" is also the heart of the Lord; it is the heart of God the Father as well. In other words, it is the heart of Jesus Christ, the chief shepherd, to take care of other souls with, and the heart of God to accomplish God's kingdom with. God the Father wants this heart not only from Senior Pastor who is the head of this church and other leaders, but also from you who are all workers.

I hope that grace and love of God will be engraved more deeply in your heart through this service. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will accomplish the kingdom of God all the more fervently until the Lord comes back.

Dear devotees,

To achieve the heart of the Shepherd, first, you should be able to give in your life for the kingdom of God.

Apostle Paul manifested great power while preaching the gospel, but the persecution he received was also as much as his power. In the city of Lystra, for example, Paul made a man who had never walked stand up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ. The crowds who saw it thought Paul was a god; they even tried to worship Paul and offer sacrifice. Then, Paul stopped them, explained to them the power is from Jesus, and preached the gospel to them.

What Paul received after this great incident was the persecution of death. Acts 14:19 says, "But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead." But God made Paul who was stoned get up and move instantly. And so, Acts 14:20-21 says, "But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples..."

Even after this harsh persecution, Paul moved to another city the next day, and continued to preach the gospel. How great he was! He manifested great power, but people didn't remember it, but rather tried to stone him to death. He barely escaped from death; but he wasn't thrown a couple of stones at; he was bruised all over his body, and he was bloodstained from head to toe. If the Jews knew Paul came back to life, they might attack him again.

If you were in a situation as his, what would you think? "I'm doing my best to preach the gospel. Why isn't God protecting me? I'm so shamed. I'm so tired, disappointed. I'm so distressed and upset." Would you think like this? Or, you would think, "I should take a rest until I recover from this injury." "The Jews might continue chase after me. Wouldn't it be better to hide and stay still?" Wouldn't you have these thoughts, and wouldn't your passion for preaching the gospel cool down?

Paul didn't even have a moment to think like that. He, of course, felt hurt when he was beaten. He felt tired when he didn't take rest. He felt hungry, cold and hot as well. However, the love of Jesus who took the cross for a head of all sinners overflowed in his heart, and so he could overcome everything.

By the way, giving in one's life not only refers to losing a physical life. It means not only giving in one's life, but also taking any sacrifice or suffering lying down. It means one can devote everything such as one's time, money, health, and family only for the Lord. The one who can give in one's life for the Lord will never consider one's own family or close acquaintance better, or seek one's own benefit. He will not insist on his own pride, self-righteousness, or frameworks, either. The heart of 'giving in one's life' is the heart of dying in all things and devoting oneself every moment of accomplishing the kingdom of God just as Apostle Paul confessed, "I die daily."

It is also the heart that God wants from you as church workers. Of course, you will hardly be stoned or beheaded to die a martyr's death like Apostle Paul. In a spiritual sense, however, your entire life is the stage of martyrdom. You must practice the truth while standing against the enemy devil and Satan, and risk your life and fight in the spiritual battle of saving souls.

If you truly have a heart of 'giving in your life,' you will never complain while doing your duty. You will never feel unfair, you will never say your working situation or environment is worse than others, or you will never say your pride is hurt when you think you are not treated well.

I myself have never thought 'a work was hard,' or 'I don't like to do this work' if it was the work God gave to me. I surely did what God told me to; I rather went through fire and water to do more and better than what He told me to. Even when I was a deacon, or a novice Christian, I did my best to obey the will of God.

For the construction of a sanctuary, I and my wife gave with all our best. Since God told us to 'Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,' I piled up endless fastings and prayers. Since God told us to preach the gospel, I did my best to preach the gospel. While give all I got, I've never thought I was making a sacrifice or devotion. Because I was grateful and because I loved Him, I only wanted to give and give again.

I hope your heart will always be full of compassion to payback for the love of God the Father. I urge you in the name of the Lord to say with confidence before the throne of God, "My dear God the Father, I gave all my life and all I have out of my love for You, Father."

Dear devotees.

To achieve the heart of the Shepherd, second, you must treasure souls.

Recently, I've been happy to hear that pastors and workers preach the gospel and visit members all the more fervently than before. If you love God and the Lord, you will surely take care of souls.

Now, those who treasure souls not only preach the gospel and pay a visit, but also treat anyone with love. They don't ignore even little ones; they are not rude to others only because their faith is greater than others' or they are in higher positions. They don't seek for their own benefits but for others' in all things.

Only when you make your vessel big with this spiritual love, can you embrace many souls. Even though there is much water, if your vessel is small, the water will overflow. While diligently preaching the gospel and paying a visits, you must make a heart-vessel to embrace souls with love; then you will not lose God-sent souls, but continue to experience revival.

I hope each and every Levite workers in all the department can examine themselves how much love they treat and serve others with. Not only those with weak faith but also those entitled workers or pastors may not cooperate with you for a work.

They may have a shortage or deficiency of seeking their own benefits, they may frequently break their promises, or they may make a difficult request. In in such a case, I urge you to treasure them and serve them by thinking "What would the Lord do in this situation?" or "How would the Shepherd treat them with what kind of voice, face, and behavior?"

Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." I hope you will consider others better than you are, and that you will honor a soul better than anything of the earth. I pray in the name of the Lord that you may bear many fruits by serving others with the heart of the Shepherd and of the Lord.

Dear devotees.

To achieve the heart of the Shepherd, third, you must have a heart of doing your work in silence.

In Luke 17:7-10, Jesus told us a parable of "Unworthy slaves." Even after slaves worked hard and came back home, their master didn't praise their work or serve them with food. Only after the salves served their master with food, could they eat food. Jesus said in Luke 17:10, "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"

As you do your duty as church workers, you are not doing your duty to be paid. You are devoting yourself with the heart of thanks and love because you have received so much grace from God the Father. If this heart is constant, you will never try to be praised or acknowledged when you do a certain work. You will never want to become a head or to receive any special treat.

I've seen people who wanted to take any significant parts in a Christian event outside this church. Only when they preside the event, or give a representative prayer, benediction, or a congratulatory speech, did they feel they were treated as the important or they kept their pride. When they sat on the altar or joined a dining table, they wanted to be seated better than others. Otherwise, they were hurt in their hearts.

But I've never had such a thought. I've neither wanted to become a head, nor be acknowledged. If my seat was designated, I had to sit there. But if not, I felt much easier and happier to have a seat at the last place. If only I do my duty and take care of souls in the kingdom of God, it will be sufficient for me. I don't need to be praised by people.

What about you? "I did better job than he did. I did more than he did. But why is he praised while I'm not?" Haven't you ever felt unfairly treated like this? "He is doing something which can be easily spotted by others, and yet he is well acknowledged and praised. But I'm doing all the hard works, and yet nobody is grateful for my work. They don't even try to help me at all." Haven't you think like this and lost strength?

It is God that you and I receive rewards from. It will be sufficient if the Lord remembers; you have no reason to be disappointed and lose strength when you don't receive praise and recognition from people. If you love the Father, and if you love with the heart of the Shepherd the souls that the Father treasures, you will never say it is hard but you will surely do your given duty. As you do your work silently and go through step by step, you will receive grace and strength from above, and gradually turn into a worker of God's power.

Dear devotees and congregation.

Peter said to Jesus in Matthew 19:27, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" Then, Jesus said in Matthew 19:28-29, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life."

This is the promise that you are I have been given the same. As we are grateful for the grace received, and as we sacrifice ourselves and give in our lives, God the Father doesn't only receive. He actually gave us salvation and Heaven already. Yet, He blesses us so that everything will prosper as our spirit and soul prosper, and He pays us back 30, 60, 100 times more for whatever we do by faith.

If you can see the rewards and glory that pile up in Heaven as you pay a visit, preach the gospel, work or serve for the kingdom of God, you will save even the time to take a rest only to pile up more.

Although they cannot be seen to physical eyes, you can see them with the eyes of spirit and of faith. From time to time, this road we walk for the Lord seems narrow, but it is surely the most blessed road; it is the way of life and glory. After you do your given duty well, may you find yourself in the arms of the Father and dwell in the glory of New Jerusalem, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray.