Feed my Sheep (Part 4) – The Concerns of the Good Shepherd
The concluding part in the four-part series focuses on the concerns of the Good Shepherd…
Every profession has expectations. A doctor is expected to treat those who need medical attention, a teacher is should be able to teach and a footballer should be able to play soccer. It will be a concern to see a practicing doctor not able to treat a common fever.
Shepherds are shepherds because they take care of sheep.
There was once a guy who introduced himself as Pastor X (anonymous) (I think he was trying to impress). I then asked him about his flock, he said “By His special grace I am working on having a church” well if he is indeed a shepherd then he is expected to have sheep and is taking care of them
4 THINGS GOD EXPECT A SHEPHERD TO DO
34 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. (ESV)
The Lord is not pleased with the careless shepherd who is self centered and cares nothing for the sheep. Whoever bears the title of a shepherd must be doing the job of caring for the sheep. God wishes that we don’t delight on titles but do the work of a shepherd.
The shepherds of Israel neglected four key areas God is concerned about:
They did not strengthen the weak
They did not heal the sick and the injured
They did not bring back those who have strayed and the lost
They have ruled them harshly
1. WHO ARE THE WEAK?
The helpless, the poor, those who are chocked up by the worries of life and those whose faith in God is ebbing off.
Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.
Bible says that in their day of trouble God will come to their aid because they care for the weak. In the church and in our different small groups there are Christians who are weak: they are not doing well spiritually. Q. Are we doing all it takes to help them to be strong?
2. THE SICK/INJURED
There are others who are sick and injured. These can be those whose faith may have been injured by leaders, other Christians or even false doctrine or by the lack of love shown to them in their time of need.
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
It pays to be a diligent shepherd. God is your reword. The church is waiting to know how much we shepherds care for their needs.
3. THE STRAYED AND LOST
Next are those who have derailed and are abandoning the faith. They are not doing well at all. They are quickly losing their trust in God. They may even be living in sin and can’t help themselves.
6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.ESV
20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
There are people in sin; their lives are in a big mess. We can still do something to help them. A shepherd will not sleep but will pray, reach out to them, love them, build them up, open the bible with them fast for them until they have done all they could do they will not rest.
Do your best to bring to repentance those who are struggling to follow Jesus.
I have often heard leaders say “well this guy is weak so I gave him a challenge to go fix up his life that is in a mess”. Think about it, if this guy can fix his life by himself will he need u to challenge him to do so? Will he not have done the job all alone? The point is that we should not just take pride in challenging the weak but should role our sleeves and help them meet up with the challenges they battle with.
4. ARE THEY RULERS OF LEADERS?
A shepherd is a leader not a ruler. The rod and staff of the good shepherd in psalm 23 is to comfort the sheep not to rule and destroy their faith. We live in the world but we don’t lead like the leaders of the world do.
42 And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (NASB)
We are servants not rulers. Do not abuse leadership. Don’t abuse our calling to serve. To be great in the eyes of God you MUST serve. To be great in the eyes of the world you must rule. Which do you seek?
John Cawray (Evangelist)