Our staff has recently starting reading a book called While Shepherds Watch There Flocks. The book is a 40 devotional written by Dr. Timothy S. Laniak all about the imagery of pastors as shepherds. Dr. Laniak spent and extended amount of time in the middle east following and interviewing shepherds who to this day shepherd as they did hundreds, even thousands of years ago. I highly recommend this book! It has been greatly challenging to my life! He tells so many stories that highlight the love that the shepherds have for their flocks which God obviously wanted His Pastors (under shepherds) to have for their congregations.
One story was of a hired hand who caught in the wilderness in the midst of a great storm. The storm was fierce that the sheep scattered as did the hired hand. The shepherds on the other hand spent the entire night gathering the sheep back together while the hired hand ran in fear that the shepherds would take his life for leaving the sheep. Which Laniak says they could have done but he doesn't say if they did.
The stories in this book have reminded me that to be a pastor was never to be easy. There will be days that are very stormy. So stormy that the congregation may scatter but as a shepherd I am called to stand with the sheep. Then I thought where are these pastors. It seems like so many of my conversations with pastors is about how frustrating their churches are or how as a youth pastor they can't get along with their pastors or that they don't like the worship at their church. Then there is another group that you talk to you that same the same things and then talk about starting their own church so they can have a church the way they want church to be.
Now I understand that there are some situations that truly are bad situations, and churches that do not want to be a church that do not want to be about the Kingdom of God. Yet, isn't it a Shepherds job to lead the sheep where they should be and not where they want to be? Who is going to lead the sheep that back that have scattered or find the sheep that are lost if all we do as pastors is find places that we deem as found and healthy.
Jesus said it like this, "John 10:11-21 (NASB95)
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” 19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”
As dumb as this sounds but I want to be like the pastor described in the book This Present Darkness. Forgive my paraphrase but he is a pastor that the church keeps voting to try and fire him because his preaching is stepping on too many toes yet he remains with no plans of leaving. He actually prays that God would keep him there and bring revival to the small town that God has called him to. Then there are angels who say of him, "He is why we are here. He called out for the Father to send us. Even now as he mows his yard he prays for the church and town"
I want to be that kind of pastor. Always crying out to God to move and never giving up on people that seem so far off. I want to be a picture and embodiment of The Good Shepherd! As the reverend from the movie the Patriot said, "A shepherd must tend his flock, and sometimes fight off the wolves."
Where have thses shpeherds gone? Am I shepherds or am I a hired hand? Am I one who will run when the wolf comes? I pray that I am not! God teach me and drive me to be a shepherd that stands with his flock in good and bad. That is willing to go where the you send me Lord. Whether that means small or large flock. Healthy or in need of revival flock. Give me a love for my sheep that cannot be quenched, and Lord forgive for the times that I don't shepherd this way.
Sat, April 18, 2009
by Daryl filed under