Mission of a shepherd

Those who wish to do ministry should understand the task like that of a shepherd. Indeed, all are called to be shepherds: parents, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, evangelists…all are shepherds. God entrusts all people, to a few people (family, children, kith, kin, colleagues) to be their shepherd. Sadly, many do not realise their responsibilities. Others know they are shepherds but are not delightful, diligent and dutiful stewards. Jacob was an exemplary shepherd, who provided us some insights. (Genesis 31:38-40)
1) Twenty years: Mission is a long-term endeavour. Many times, it is life-long involvement. Jacob did not take neither leave, nor holidays.
2) No miscarriage: Jacob tenderly grazed the sheep and took great care. (Genesis 33:13) All people God has given for care and nurture should be kindly cared for. Paul experienced childbirth pain so that Christ is formed in the disciples. (Galatians 4:19)
3) Not slaughtered: Selfish shepherds eat from the flock, Lord said, He will deliver the sheep from their mouths. (Ezekiel 34:2) Jacob did not eat from the flock. Many believers are like sheep maimed, by selfish shepherds that they are not useful for the Kingdom of God.
4) Protection: Jacob protected the sheep from predators. Paul warned that wolves will come to destroy the flock. (Acts 20:29) False teachers, false prophets, worldly preachers will come to destroy the flock.
5) Heat consumed by day: Leading people to the Lord, nurturing them, and making them grow to maturity is a hard toil and labour. It was restless work, and physically exhausting. Ministry is hard as it is emotionally draining, spiritually sapping and time-consuming.
6) Cold consumed by night: Not in comfort zone for Jacob but had to be in the fields with the flock without roof or shelter. Sometimes the cold believers around could freeze even healthy people. Love should not grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)
7) Sleep fled my eyes: Tension, Work pressure, unsafe environment was challenges for Jacob. In ministry, concern of churches could make shepherd’s travail in prayers, during sleepless nights. (II Corinthians 11:28)
Am I a responsible shepherd?