Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28I remember reading through the list of the sufferings that Paul went through- the floggings and imprisonments, the beatings and shipwrecks, and thinking that the list ended on a slightly lame note. How does Paul's concern for the churches compare with being constantly in danger of death, or facing cold and hunger again?
Now, however, a number of years after my husband began serving in a ministry role, I can comprehend a little of what Paul meant.
We have faced some difficulties over the last ten years; uncertainty about the future, sickness, pain and grief. However, the things that weigh on us both, but especially on my husband, are the concerns for the people in our congregation. I share some with my husband, but some, rightly, I will never know.
What keeps your Pastor awake at night? Probably not thinking of illustrations for sermons, or worrying about meetings. It will be concern for the church.
Concern for the student who seemed so keen, but has now started a relationship with a non-Christian.
Concern for the teenager whose Facebook life doesn't match how they seem on a Sunday.
Concern for the family who have stopped coming every Sunday as they don't want to miss football practice.
Concern for the young Christian who is in danger of being led astray by false teaching.
Concern for the Sunday School leader who is exhausted.
Concern for older member of the congregation who is increasingly frail.
Concern for the worldliness which ever threatens the church.
What, above all, drives my husband to tears, drives him to prayer?
Not strategy or sermons; not meetings or overwork or children's talks, but his concern for the church that he serves.
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 2 Corinthians 11:28-29