7:13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.
I was asked once if it made me partly happy when the pastor who came to a church after I had left struggled to succeed. I understood the question but it hurt me. The answer is no. A thousand times no. If the pastor who comes after me struggles who loses? Is it not my church members? The people I taught, prayed with, prayed for, wept with and celebrated with? How could I ever hope for anything but their increased growth and joy in the Lord? When I leave I don't pray I will be the best pastor they ever had. I pray the next one will be able to take them places I never could.
Paul raised up the church in Corinth. That's something I've never done. They were literally a newborn baby in his arms. They learned to walk and talk under his guidance. It must have caused him great pain to leave them. I can tell you it's like grieving a death to leave a church. I have hated it each and every time and felt like I could never love another like I loved them. It takes me about two years to feel normal again. What makes it worse is the news they are struggling and you are helpless to do anything about it.
Paul found something he could do. He sent them a new pastor. He sent young Titus. He told Titus how wonderful they were which was probably more true in his heart than in reality. He told Corinth how wonderful Titus was too. Long story short Titus went and it was a good experience for him and them. Now it seems Titus has finished his time with them and Paul is still pastoring them from afar.
There is no greater example in the Bible besides Jesus of the heart of a shepherd. Paul keeps following wherever Jesus leads but never leaves one church in the dust. He writes to them, prays for them, sends leaders to help them. He does it all because he isn't a shepherd for hire. He loves his sheep. When you see Paul and his care for his churches know that Jesus' concern for you is infinitely greater. He loves you with an everlasting love. Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus lives to pray for us. He sends people to help us. His angels do things for us we will never know about until we get Home. He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep and Paul is just a taste, just a glimpse into the love He has for us and the ways He cares for us from afar. Take courage. You have the best Pastor always. :)