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Like anything worthwhile, pastoring is costly. Find a pastor who’s served faithfully, and you will see some scars.

But pastoring is an immense privilege. Paul’s words ring true: “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service…” (1 Timothy 1:12). Pastoring is costly, but we get to enjoy many blessings that come from our work.

Here are five blessings that most pastors get to enjoy:

The blessing of being paid to serve God and his people

Most pastors aren’t getting rich. If anything, most pastors I know find it a challenge to make ends meet. But we still have the privilege of being paid to serve God and his people. God’s arranged it that way (1 Corinthians 9:14; Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17).

No matter how meagre, many pastors enjoy God’s financial provision, and it’s a privilege.

The blessing of suffering

Suffering hardly seems like a blessing, but it can be. The apostles rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41). Paul wrote that we’ve been granted the privilege of both believing and suffering (Philippians 1:29). When we suffer, we join Jesus and countless other believers. We’re in good company.

In his book The J-Curve, Paul Miller identifies a biblical pattern at work in our lives:

As we shall see, our J-Curves each have their own unique cadences, but they all

1. enter some kind of suffering in which evil is weakened or killed;

2. weaken the flesh and form us into the image of Jesus;

3. lead to a real-time, present resurrection.

“The J-Curve is the shape of the normal Christian life,” Miller writes. We get to experience that as pastors, which grows us and often leads to God working in surprising ways.

The blessing of time in God’s Word

Most Wednesdays, I shut down my email, ignore other tasks, and spend focused time in God’s word as I prepare to preach the next Sunday. I get to spend a day feasting on Scripture and thinking about how it intersects with the lives of people in my congregation. Could there be a greater privilege?

The blessing of seeing God at work

We often miss seeing evidence of God’s work, just like we often miss the growth of our own children. Occasionally, though, God gives us glimpses of what he’s up to, and it’s glorious. We get a front-row seat and watch as the Holy Spirit draws people to Jesus, restores broken lives, sanctifies people, and more. We also get to see God at work in the lives of saints who are ahead of us, providing an example for us to follow.

Occasionally I come home amazed that I get to witness what God is doing through the ordinary ministry of an average church. What a privilege.

The blessing of anticipating God’s reward

1 Peter 5:4 gives elders something to anticipate: “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” We may never get much recognition from those we serve, but we’ll receive something much better.

“The prize of ‘the unfading crown of glory’ comes in the next life, not this one,” says David Helm. But it’s worth the wait.

Pastoring isn’t easy, but it’s a privilege. Praise God for the many blessings he gives to those who pastor.