2 Corinthians 12:14–15, 19
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.  So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.
There are many examples of bad shepherds in the Bible with misguided motives and self-centered behavior. However, the Apostle Paul is by no means one of them. Like anyone placed in leadership, he was occasionally under suspicion. But his life was a continual witness to the purity and goodness of his motives and his obedience to his Lord.
Paul made it clear to the Corinthians that he did not want their possessions – their money and material goods, their power or influence – he wanted them. He had labored for this church and with them. He told them that not only would he spend his own money on them and give them what he had, but would even spend himself – his very being – for their sake. That’s how much he wanted to see them grow in grace.
Paul told them that all that he had done, and was doing, was for their strengthening. His desire was to build them up in the faith – to equip and edify them.
This should be at the heart of every shepherd of Jesus Christ. And that list of “every shepherd” is a long list indeed. For it is not merely those who have been ordained by the church who are shepherds, but those who are mothers and fathers, Bible study teachers and small group leaders, youth counselors and Vacation Bible School volunteers, just to name a few.
I wonder how many shepherds today are “spending and being spent” (as the KJV puts it) on behalf of their flock – those entrusted by God to their care. I wonder how many would look more like those chastised shepherds of the Old Testament who worked from unworthy motives.
Our checklist for this might look like this:
1.) Are we looking for a paycheck or are we looking to invest ourselves in people’s lives? A paycheck may be money, or attention, or seeking to be well thought of, or any number of things that put us at the center of the equation.
2.) Are we doing time or are we seeking to build up those in our care? Are we spending ourselves that others may see Christ in our very lives, or are we doing the minimal required and thus doing virtually no one any good at all?
Let us recommit ourselves to be faithful shepherds for our Good Shepherd, that we may be counted worthy to serve him.
Grace and Truth,