The first responsibility of the shepherds toward the sheep is HARD WORK. Paul says to the Thessalonian believers, “Know them” or recognize those who labor among you. “Labor” comes from one of Paul’s favorite Greek words, kopiao. It means hard work to the point of fatigue; work until you are weary; work until you are exhausted.
Note particularly where they labor, they labor “among you.” The heart and labor of a true shepherd is in the midst of his people. He works with them every day just like a shepherd is out with his sheep every day, just like a father is with his family every day. A pastor cannot pastor a church and build a people up in the Lord if they are not down in the trenches with them.
Paul was like that. I Thessalonians 2:9, “For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail [toil]; for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”
In Acts 20:20, Paul reminded the Ephesians of “how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly and from house to house.” He taught the Word in public services and then privately counseled them going “from house to house.”
Ministry is and should be hard work. Slothful, lazy pastors have soured enough people on the church! We will labor diligently on your behalf; you can expect that from your pastoral staff at Tucson Baptist Church.