Maybe the most sobering truth for any pastor is implied in the instruction given by the author of Hebrews, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (Heb. 13:17). Even though this instruction is given to all the Christians receiving this letter, the more penetrating truth in it for pastors is the clear implication that our calling is to keep watch over souls as those who will give an account for them to the Chief Shepherd.
I can remember the immense pressure I felt when I took my first Senior Pastor position and realized that I would give an account before God for the souls of all these people. I used to lie in bed many nights unable to sleep because I had underestimated the burden I felt to care for souls and give an account before the Lord Christ. Not long after that burden was assumed, I asked myself a very important question that forever changed my approach to my family. If I will give an account for the souls of those in my care in the church, how much more of an account will I give for the souls of those in my care from my home? Pastors must not just realize the biblical reality of giving an account for souls, but the possibility that we could spend our entire lives caring for the souls of our flock, while neglecting the souls for which, I am convinced, we will answer first…our family.
Pastors, care well for the souls of your flock as we will give an account to the Lord Christ for them. But don’t forget when we stand before our Savior in that moment that we will not just give an account for our flock, but our family also. Who knows, he may even ask about them first.