Can I Afford The Time?
Although all five (evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, apostle) are demanding, I think that shepherding is the most demanding because it requires your time. Time is the most precious commodity in America today. Everyone is so busy with their lives, their agendas, their careers, their hobbies and interests that to offer unconditional “time” with unconditional “love” is quite a price to pay.
Unlike a government agency where you have to schedule an appointment during nine to five if you get through their screening phone system, a shepherd has to be available at all hours. If a crisis happens at two in the morning, he needs to respond. Dealing with college age youth and young adults, much of their social life occurs after dark.
Apparently, when Jesus shepherd his twelve disciples, he spent large amount of time with them, walking, talking, demonstrating kingdom truth through day-to-day adventures. After having a “quiet time” with his Father, he had to walk on the water during a storm to deal with his disciple’s fears. Often he would say, “Oh, you of little faith,” when seeing the dilemmas his disciples faced. Jesus, as the true shepherd, is always available, always there.
I remember when in my twenties, when I found another man who offered his time. He said I could call him on the phone at any time, at any hour if needed. I had to take him up on his offer, but those late night phone calls were life changing during the time when I was molding my own personal moral and faith based values for my life.
Because of having to pay the price of time, many shy away from the shepherding gifting, and although demanding, I still contend that it is also one of the most rewarding. It is said, “What goes around, comes around,” and it is so rewarding as a shepherd to see a sheep eventually become a shepherd to his or her generation. The evangelist may major in birthing, but the shepherd revels in reproduction too! In fact he does more; he nurtures.