I believe good pastoring comes from equal parts passion and compassion.
Passion for the gospel. As Paul says in Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” If you don’t have that same fire and conviction for the things about which you preach, well, pastoring will be a long and empty road. If you do have that passion for the message, then every day is a new adventure as you consider inventive ways to communicate an ancient message.
Compassion for people. Matthew tells us this about Jesus: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Again, if your heart doesn’t have the same fondness for and attraction to people, then pastoring will deplete you more than replenish you. But if you can yield your spirit toward Christ, and ask his compassion to flow through you, then the ministry of compassionate presence in people’s lives will be energizing.
Some days, I guess, I lean more on the side of passion than compassion. Other days, I tilt the other way.
And sometimes, I’ll confess, I don’t feel much of either.
Today is one of those good days. I have a balance of both.