2 Corinthians 11:27-29 (NIV)
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
In 2 Corinthians 11:16-29, Paul imitates the "super apostles", boasting of his sufferings - how he has sacrificed himself and risked his life so many times in so many ways for the sake of his churches and for the sake of the gospel. Paul boasts this way even though he clearly does not want to and feels totally out of his comfort zone doing so (see verse 17). But he does it in a desperate attempt to show his church that he truly does love God and loves them. It's not easy to be a shepherd.
It reminds me of what Jesus says in John 10:11: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for suffering so much on our behalf because You loved us. Thank You also for placing shepherds like Paul who followed in Your example, giving their lives for Your people. Thank You for placing shepherds in my own life who have followed in Your example too, sacrificing, giving and suffering so much so that I could know You and have a relationship with You. Thank You for every shepherd who has tried to follow in Your footsteps so that the church and the gospel could advance in our world. We don't take Your suffering or their suffering for granted today. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!